(AllHipHop Interviews) Yung Stet's early introduction to Hip Hop came when he discovered a charismatic emcee who demanded all eyes be on him and declared it was him against the world. It was the rap icon Tupac Shakur that first inspired a young Stetson to pursue his dream of being a musical legend.
Being a child of Rockford, Illinois (a city about an hour outside of Chicago that did not have a Hip Hop radio station), Stet expanded his appreciation for 2Pac into researching other rappers and musicians of all genres. He would later use that exposure to grab sounds and styles associated with all regions of the country to create his blended brand of rap music.
Stet realized in order to make a name for himself in the rap world he would have to break away from his Midwest roots. So around the age of 18 he headed to Texas where he connected with Houston legend Lil Flip. The two rappers recorded and toured together, but Stet would eventually seek his own path in the music biz.
The 25-year-old artist now has several mixtapes under his belt, and he recently released his debut EP Becoming Legendary which includes the tracks "911" and "Renovation/Swag" featuring Young Money's Lil Twist. AllHipHop.com caught up with Yung Stet for the latest installment of "5 & Done."
[ALSO READ: 5 & Done: Castle]
You named your EP “Becoming Legendary.” That’s a pretty bold statement. What qualities do you have as an artist that is setting you on that path to becoming legendary?
I pride myself on really having a full package. I look at all the legends in sports, art, and history. Just being the term “legendary,” they were smart, groundbreaking, talented in multiple areas, and looked at highly. So when I started looking at the term legendary/legend it just stood out to me that’s something that I’d love to do. Legends were able to change the world. They were able to inspire, innovate, and create. Whatever field they were in, they were able to open doors, catch people’s attention, change things, and be beneficial to culture - from music to painting to creating cars.
For me, with my music having that full package I’m able to be in a category like that – a person that can do anything they put their mind to. I’m not saying I am a legend yet, but it’s on the path. I feel like with my music having that package of image, sound, lyricism, beats, everything, my full package is definitely on the road to becoming legendary. It also inspires me. It makes me have to go harder. I have to stand up to that statement. It’s a statement for me, but it’s also a statement for the people. Anybody can do what I do.
What’s the status of your Dream Team imprint?
Dream Team started as a clique of friends in my home city. It got popular and turned into a music group with me and a couple other people in 2005. I looked at it like I can actually turn this into something that can be a brand. I really took it seriously. I looked at the music, and I felt like I could really do something with it. I created the brand. I created the name. I had it licensed to myself in the state of Texas. I hope to expand it one day, because the term is loose. When it's entertainment it can be anything.
Right now it's just an independent brand that I have that has to do with clothing and different endeavors. It means something to me, because I created it. It’s even tattooed on me, so I have to keep rocking with it. It’s definitely something I want to keep working and building.
Listen to Yung Stet's "Renovation/Swag" featuring Lil Twist below.
You have Lil Twist on your EP, and you’ve also been associated with Lil Za for several years. What’s your opinion on critics who blame them for Justin Bieber’s recent troubles?
They’re all young. Lil Twist is like my little brother. Lil Za is like my little brother. I’ve known them since they were young teenagers like 14. They’re really good-hearted people. I just look at it like everybody has to grow up. You learn from experiences, mistakes, and good things. I just hate that the media puts so much negativity on Twist and Za for Justin Bieber’s faults. Not even faults, because he's just growing up in front of the spotlight. He’s young, rich, and successful. People are hoping to try and put negative things on him, but he’s his own man. I know first-hand that Lil Twist and Lil Za are not influencing him to do negative things. They’re just having fun. It’s more positive than negative in my opinion.
I don’t really place the blame on anybody. I know their families. I know where they came from. I don’t pay no attention to that. We laugh at it sometimes. We look back and be like, “Man, did you hear what they put on TMZ about you?” Twist will tell me how they’ll get a picture of them doing something or make up a story, and he’ll tell me how it really came about. I’m just like, “Dang, they’ll spin anything.” You really can’t believe what you hear, especially on certain sources.
On your song “911” you say, “I think I’m King James. I think I’m Dwayne Wade.” Do you have The Heat three-peating this year?
Definitely, I’m a super Heat fan. They say, “Aw, you’re a bandwagon.” I’ve been a LeBron fan since 2002 when I first seen him play in high school. Ever since Jordan, I haven’t been a fan of anyone huge consistently. So I became a fan of LeBron, and I followed him. I was a fan of him in Cleveland. Now I’m a diehard Heat fan. I go hard for them. I got the League Pass, and I watch every game. Most definitely we’re three-peating. I’m glad you asked that. Speak it into existence.
What else do you have in the works right now?
I’m with an independent label right now called Klassic Records. We’re working on a lot of things. We’re building the brand. I don’t want to be looked at as a one hit wonder. To me, I’m really an artist, so I like for people to hear all my music, all my projects. Instead of trying to catch a buzz off one quick single, we’re really trying to build a brand.
I’m always working on new material. I record myself. I engineer myself. I got my own studio, so I’m always working on new music. I got a new mixtape - volume 2 of Yo Beat Ain’t Safe. I take a lot of the hot songs, and put my own spin on them. A lot of times I hear records that I like, and I’ll be mad because I wish I could be on them. [laughs] When they hit the radio I think, “I wish I could have a 16 on this.” A lot of my fans love that, so I’m working on Yo Beat Ain’t Safe Vol. 2. Besides that, just building, booking shows. It’s all a buzz building process right now.
[ALSO READ: 5 & Done: June]
To purchase Yung Stet’s Becoming Legendary visit iTunes.com.
Stream/download Yo Beat Ain’t Safe Vol. 1 below.