Q&A with Yung Joc, by James Buell

Jasiel Robinson, a.k.a. Yung Joc, will admit he was “a mischievous child.” So mischievous, in fact, he was bounced from one high school to the next and ended up in jail at a very early age. The work force wasn’t beating down Joc’s door and the outlook was grim. This summer, Joc’s debut album, New Joc City, hits stores and his childhood dream of bringing his raps to the people will have finally come true.

I spent some time with the young Atlanta rapper and asked him about the hype surrounding him, the outlet rap gives kids in the inner city and if dropping a variation of Young onto his rap name was the best long-term career move. Joc will be at Crunkfest this weekend and then opens for T.I. at House of Blues on June 5.

Metromix: You’re being billed as Atlanta’s next big hip-hop star. What kind of pressure does that put on you?
Yung Joc: It don’t put no pressure on me at all, pimp. You gotta be able to stand up to the title when people give them to you. And the best part about it is, people respect you more and it makes you a little bigger when they title you than when you do it yourself. It’s one of those situations man, where I’m like, “Hey, I tell the world and the people who say that… Thank you very much.” I didn’t know they looked at me like that, but now I know.

OCB: You had a stint in jail before you got your deal. Do you think you’d have ended up back in that lifestyle if not for the outlet rap gave you?
YJ: Not at all. Not at all. Because, hell, I was out there doing bad. There were plenty of opportunities to go out there selling drugs. There were plenty of opportunities to start doing the shit that I was doing. From white-collar crimes to damn just straight up crazy shit, but I didn’t want to take that route. God had a better situation for me and when the time came, it was going to be fruitful and I was going to rejoice in the abundance of plenty of money and success. I stayed true with what I do, man. I don’t think I’d have gone back. Hell no.

OCB: As a young black male in America, do you think rap gives kids in your situation that outlet to steer clear of the drugs, gangs, etc.?
YJ: Yeah, if you’re heart is into it and it’s something you want to do. But a lot of times it could get you in more trouble. I hate to say it, but a lot of times it can. Because you have people watching you. You’re going to have people walk up onto to you, just “Hey” and causing problems. You’re going to have situations where… shit, man you’re just trying to do you and something happens and you being in the vicinity and they blame you for it. Shit man … at the end of the day, it is what it is, man. If you can make the best out of it, then make the best out of it. If it can deter you from a life of crime, then go with it.

OCB: Being from Atlanta, maybe you have some insight into why the Hawks are so awful.
YJ: (laughs) Shit… I don’t know dog. Maybe they ain’t playing enough.

OCB: The debut CD, New Joc City, hits stores this summer and your single, “It’s Goin Down,” is on the radio now. Where is Yung Joc going to be this time next year?
YJ: This time next year … I’ll be doing a lot of things. TV show cameos, stand up comedy, tap dancing overseas … (laughs). No, I’m just talking shit. (laughs) But no, I’ll still be doing shows. I’ll probably be dropping another album this time next year.

OCB: I notice you spelled Yung without the O. Is that to avoid the potential embarrassment of being a 35 year-old rapper named Young something, like what happened with Young MC?
YJ: No, it’s because if you’re ever noticed, people are lazy. Yung is just a different way. I didn’t want to have to spell it Y-O-U-N-G if I ever put it in a rap. Same thing with Joc. It used to be J-O-C-K, but I took the K out because I wanted it to be easy to say and to read. So that’s why I took the O out of Young. Now it’s just Y-U-N-G.

OCB: For the people reading this who may not know who Yung Joc is, give them one good reason to come check out the show.
YJ: Because it’s amazing how I could be from one hood and you could be from another hood or somewhere else on this earth … you could be from the West Coast and I could be from Atlanta or vice versa and you could come out to the show and see how I can relate with you and interact with the crowd. And we’re from two totally different worlds, but it’s the same. It’s amazing man. I definitely aim to please. Entertaining is my thing. It’s what I do. I do it for the people

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