Yung Joc: Why You Joc-in?

Yung Joc is Block Entertainment/Bad Boy South's newest southern stunna. At press time, his single “It's Goin' Down” sits on Billboard's Top 20 R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart. Though he's keeping the specifics of his new LP New Joc City under wraps, he promises that the album (dropping June 6) will be a crowd pleaser. Chocolate City has been Joc-in him for a while…now he's on the grind trying to take it worldwide.

Of course with a new artist we wanna know about the hustle, how u got on and all that…

Well my name is Yung Joc, my momma named me Joc and since I look so young, [they] started sayin' Yung Joc.

It had something to do with the TV show Dallas or something like that?

Right. U know [the character] J.R. Ewing, he was a very wealthy and prominent figure in the world, she said that I would be too so, and she wasn't lying…

That was that prophecy comin' thru, huh?

That's right momma seen it

So what kind of things would you do while you were still tryin' to get on and get noticed?

I was at talent shows, I was just tryin' to rap anywhere I could man, I'd rap at yo' grandmomma and them house if I had to. I mean my passion for it was so sincere man that I really took it serious. I took it serious like I was already in the public eye, that's why know what I'm sayin' I'm an easy goin cat, like anytime I'm out I'm on my best behavior cuz I'm really crazy you know, I ain't got it all but…

That's ok, ain't none of us really got it all

I know right, we all just be actin' like we got some sense you know, we just actors. Um, I was out doin stuff for promotions, radio promotions, being a hype man, also ghostwriting for people. I was on the road my girl Mystique had a record for So So Def…I hit the road hard with her. I introduced her to Nitty and that's how she got that record. Although it didn't go national for the simple fact that there was a situation with her camp and the label so…I was on the road with her for like 3 years. When I would come home, I would just go to the studio and do as many shows as I could. I mean, I'd be comin fresh out the studio goin to the club just to see what the people in the club thought about it. I got a lot of ridicule and criticism about that cause cats was like, ‘nigga you on the road wit a major artist, you out here tryin to get your face card right but you comin back fuckin it up cuz you comin home doin talent shows'. Folks talked about me bad for that. I didn't care cuz I knew I had to do it, what it was gon take, so I just kept doin it. Then I got in the studio with Nitty, did the song in the hood…we did the rest of the joints on the album. Since we did it, life has been a lil different.

Just a lil' different?

(Laughing) Just a lil bit.

Speaking of Nitty, the beat is definitely hot on the single, everybody's very impressed with not only the flow but the production…do you work with him on other songs on New Joc City?

We end up stretchin' it out doin a production agreement for other albums. I really wish we would have cuz me and Nitty got great chemistry, we've worked on other albums for other artists that I did ghostwriting on so…it's a real good look. He and I gon be workin on some stuff that's big—like now he can just send me some tracks, I'm on the road with my studio now so he can just send me the track, email me the track. We doin stuff for soundtracks, commercials, we workin on commercials and stuff too. It's a real good look.

Right, u makin' it a movement, definitely.

Yup.

Now I know you've been keeping certain things about the album on the low, guest appearances and things like that so you can move units on your own merits, but can you explain to us the feel of the album?

Yeah, its like New Joc City its almost like, when you grab that CD its like a key.
A key to the city, to my inner city. What it is, I felt like it's a difference from a album, a good album and a great album. An album is somebody that did a compilation, a lot of they music, a compiling of they work. A good album is somebody who take the time to say ‘lets make sure the production good, and make sure the hooks [are] good'. A great album is overall sayin, ‘you know what we need to do this kind of music to make sure it's able to touch these kinds of people'. What I try to do is focus on making sure I cover all the bases. I got music on there for the trappers, music on there for the thugs, I got music on there for the ladies, for the players, for the conscious heads, I got music on there for the cats who just really wanna kick back and relax. We tryin' some different things. It is my first album, but I'm not gonna call it a shot in the dark, cuz I been doin it, I love doin it—I take it very serious and it's near and dear to my heart so it ain't like I played wit it I just want people to know that Joc had something to say and I appreciate the people for takin' the time to listen, that's all.

As far as the LP goes, how many singles are you hoping to get off the album?

Its crazy cuz when I listen to the album…like I been doin a lot of DJ listening parties and what not. I get a lot of DJ's like ‘man, ya'll ain't went wrong nowhere.' A lot of DJ's like ‘its hard to pick your next single.' I got a record called “Patron”. What I did was sample a line out of ‘Goin Down' and I open my show to this record and PEOPLE LOVE IT! LIKE AAAY! I'm a little scared because I just found out that the record is a top ten record so its like, ok, its gon be on super blast so people gon be tired of hearing it after a while cuz they gon play it to death. People familiar wit it, they kinda like ‘oh I'm tired of hearin its goin down I'm ready for the next single', then the next single kinda put you in the mind of goin down? I don't know, I just don't know. Its not on me it's a whole collective effort from the tastemakers…I play it but its not in my hands no more its not in none of our hands, I put it in God's hands. I ain't know this record was gon pick up this fast, I didn't know this record was gon do what its doin now. I felt like it was a good record but I didn't know it was gon really pick up and boom here I am on the phone with you, ya know havin' a good interview goin. I didn't know that. I'm grateful for it.

What do you think it is about the south that makes up and coming artists able to get more love than unsigned emcee's up north? Because people talk about that a lot…how up north it's a whole bunch of haters and can't nobody center around no one person and down south it seems like new artists get so much love?

You know what I think it is? It's just me being me not being biased. When you go up top man, I'mma say this I don't care who think I'm certified or not, I honestly think that northerners or cats from up top, they into being more lyrical, on some real shit you know what I'm sayin? Just being honest, they focused on being so lyrical that it kinda takes away from their creativity as far as when it comes to picking beats, when it comes to melodies and hooks and shit…I think that's what kills them. A lot of cats up top be so grimy or whatever you wanna call it hard, hood, gutta, whatever to the point that they don't do stuff like dancing and you know…

I seen the lil dance in the video and stuff…

Yeah, that's called “Joc-in”. You know, I remember one dance from New York not too long ago—the Harlem shake. That's ONE out of you know…we had bankhead bouncing, booty music, we got snap music right now, and we got this new thing I'm doin its like…it only helps. It's like a win-win situation. We give you our music like a how to guide on doin what we do. A lot of our songs be real real crazy, it be songs like…think about Lil Jon, he crunk telling you what to do. If you think about the snap movement…snap ya fangas, do it like this, lean wit it, rock wit it. Know what I'm sayin? I think what northerners are doin' different than what we're doin is they not focused on the melody, not focused on dumbing it down for people. They so complex; I ain't even gon lie cats be spittin' up top, I ain't gon lie but they make it so complex, a lot of times the kids don't understand. The kids are our future right? So you gotta be able to relate to them, they need to know something then you gotta set the pace for them. Once you set the pace then they gon do it on they own, they got way mo energy than you anyway. Everytime that song come on they can lose they mind, you can't. After a while you be like ‘Ay man, I'm tired fuck that, put on some of that laid back shit.'

Another reason that ya'll might be turning out them bangers that's mo fun…like ATL ya'll got a crazy club scene. Up north we do the clubs but not so tough as ya'll do down there, ya'll known for ya'll clubs. People fly down to Atlanta just to go to ya'll clubs…

Well, I think that's the truth. You come to Atlanta now you meet a lot of people. Atlanta is a lot like a baby New York now, it's like a melting pot, it's more diverse now as far as cultural background and whatnot. You come to the ‘A' you know its all kind of people, but you got a lot of people come down here because its so easygoing, because the atmosphere is so light fun and laid back. You buy a house down here, you gon see some land, even if you downtown you get to see trees. It's a difference, the way of life is a lil more different, still as hard or grimy as other places in the United States or the world for that matter. I think when we do music it's to have fun anyway. It's all about emotions anyway. If I sit here and say ‘girl the way you talking be turning me on' if that give you chill bumps, shit I did something right! So if I say a lyric a certain kind of way, and it make you wanna gat damn lean wit it, rock wit it, I did something right. I think it's all about emotions man, and sometimes I think when you overthink it or overexpose something, it takes away from the rawness of it. That makes it just complicated and not fun.

I wanna talk to you a bit about Block Entertainment. What makes ya'll unique? There's a lot of insignias out there so I wanna know a lil bit about Block and what ya'll got goin on and ya'll connection wit Bad Boy South and how that's been working for ya'll.

They believed in me. This cat believed in me. You know how somebody say they believe in you right, say they down wit you but when you around other people they don't make mention of you or make you feel like you that one? See I'm one of those type of people, I know I have to play my position and I have to earn my stripes, and I earn my keep so I don't expect nobody to give me shit so wit “Block” I was like ‘ok, hood cat, made a change in his life, he's career oriented and focused, I liked that so I'm like I'mma earn my stripes and keeps around this cat. Once I started seeing that everything I was actually doin, because I'm a loyal cat, when I say I'mma do something I try my damndest to do it. I seen what happened, he and I ended up creating a big brother/little brother type bond man, cuz we'll be places man, and the way he would talk about me man, made me feel special. Made me feel like I am actually doin what I always wanted to do. You know, “Block” he's a go getter man, he's like myself, everybody know cause folk be jonsen' like ‘ah, you just a chip off the old Block.”

That's cute

I mean it's cool, I appreciate it because I know I see his grind, I see his focus, his hustle. And I believe he sees the same thang that's why we mesh well. You know the label, did the deal the multimillion dollar deal through Bad Boy South and Warner Music Group, so that's where you get all the ties in between all the entities being independent but joined together.

About Atlantic, there's so many MC's goin over there now…B.G. signed with them, Juve…,

Yeah, I was right there when he [B.G.] was doin his paperwork.

*So what is it about Atlantic in general, what's their appeal? Why is everybody finding a home there?

From what I've seen so far, with anything there is no set tone or cause except for math. Math says 1+1 is 2, no matter how you do that shit. A beat and a rapper equals what?

A song.

Right. That's a song—it doesn't guarantee a hit though does it?

No it doesn't.

Right, and those tactics as far as working, I think Atlantic, what they're doing now, they're not using a set protocol. They're using so many different tactics and strategies to garner success…I think right now they got like special ops. These dudes get out here and grind with me. I'm not just another artist out here on the road you know, just takin orders. These cats is out here with me. We workin hand in hand diligently to make sure everything goes as its supposed to, as opposed to just being another artist out here ‘you do that, we gon do this.' I think the way everybody's meshing together as far as strategies and tactics, its killin folk man! Look at T.I..

You gotta respect that.

Anytime you got people going out they way to make sure…it's a difference man, it's a difference. Especially if you been around, if you been around a lot of labels and seen how people work and people say ‘this is how were gonna do this and no other way' then you find a label that say ‘well if this doesn't work, we can try this. If that doesn't work lets try this.' When you get that!? C'mon man. Something finna work somewhere. All the evidence say that 1 out of 10 is good…1 out of 10 tries you gon hit.

I heard you were gon put out a Gangsta Grillz mixtape with DJ Drama, is that in progress?

Oh yea, its done man, actually right now they just printin' em up just doin artwork and stuff, its called Welcome to My Block. I was gon do a full blown “It's Goin Down” Gangsta Grill—Key to the City: Its Goin Down Gangsta Grill. What happened was it really started movin so fast it was like ‘ok let's do this…instead of doin just on Joc, lets do one promoting the whole situation and everything that's tied in'. Like on this Welcome to My Block you got Nitty on it, you got Boyz in the Hood on there, you got Yung Joc on there. It was more so to show the whole movement overall as opposed to just me doin my Gangsta Grill cause I got some records on there so it's a good look.

How was it workin with Drama?

It's cool. Its crazy cause I been seen Drama around, like right now I'm bout to hit the tour with T.I. and right now he's his official DJ so, I think with this business and anything else, one hand washes the other. I'mma say that. That's why I definitely have to give a lot of this success to that way of thinking—and God, you know? Cause ay man, you can't do it by yourself.

Its refreshing to hear somebody say that and mean that. The last thing, who keeps you motivated? Who do you bump when you need inspiration?

You know what? I look at cats with stories like…for instance, you don't see a cat who just ignorant, I look at cats like T.I., like Outkast. When you look at these cats, no matter what you think or what yo momma think, these boys out here be hustlers. And everytime they come back a lil better until they break records and until they set the pace. Right now I been lookin up to Jeezy cause dude set the pace man. Anytime you in the club and you can hear 7 songs back to back from a nigga and his album ain't even dropped yet, what the hell that tell you? Any time a nigga say' I ain't gotta sit back and wait on a record label to do, I got to get it on my own, I'm doin shows I can do it my damn self'. That's what I'm talking about. That makes people look up and say you know what? Aight! When I was comin up, I used to spend a lot to get me some J's. Momma wasn't wit that shit. Momma wasn't buyin me no $120 tennis shoes! 100 what?? Shit! But when I came to her like, look momma I raised $60 from sellin candy at school, I just want to know if you go the other 60. It raised her eyebrow…I don't see why not, $60 is my limit on your shoes anyway. At the same time she taught me hey, you got $60, I'm gon get you a pair of shoes myself, or, I can give you this same $60 and you can take on some other responsibilities in the household. $60 will buy some milk, eggs, some bread, a lil meat though.

Right.

I'm real analytical. I break shit down for what it is and for what I want it to be in my head. I look up to cats like Jeezy, T.I., Outkast, Jay-Z…I mean look at these dudes, they phenomenal man.

Geniuses. So we lookin' for you to come up in the ranks and be one of those black geniuses…

I'm directing my next video, man…I'm finna get in all kind of stuff, movies are my thing. Silver screen betta watch out! I'm telling you now! And I'm not gon be one of them rappers that go to the movies and then can't get respect on the music side. You know how they be getting mixed up sometimes. Think about it, aight you get a record deal, album deal. They ready to give you a half a million dollar budget, you gotta pay all that shit back. Aight, we want you to do this movie…you a no name actor but you got a lot of buzz as far as the music, so we gon do this first movie and give you $1.3 million. Sheeeit, I ain't gotta pay it back? I ain't gotta do all these shows? So cats get caught up in that, they think it's more easier, that's a different kind of paper. I look up to cats like Ice Cube and Will Smith man, cuz them boys on some business shit.

They getting that dough, I ain't mad at all.

I mean look at em! They doin movies, you got dolls man, c'mon man? How much better do it get? What that cake feel like? What it feel like to gross $230 million off yo movie and you walk away wit $110? What that feel like? I'm tryin to feel that.

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