On the heels of release his latest mixtape Welcome To Reidsville, North Carolina native Young Dirt takes us on verbal tour of his neck of the woods. The You World Global Media/Caroline (Capitol Records) artist granted us some face time to talk about his home state, working with Rick Ross and producing. Check it out.
So Young Dirt can you tell us who is Young Dirt?
The easiest way to explain who Young Dirt, is to explain my name. Young because I’m a young dude and I’m relatively young in the sense of the rap game being that I only been doing the music thing for about two and half years now. Dirt being the closest thing to the streets, closest thing to the earth and staying grounded. The easiest way to explain who Young Dirt is just a young dude that ain’t been around very long, but I keep myself grounded and close to the streets. That’s pretty much the best explanation of me is in the name.
You’re a native of North Carolina. Where does North Carolina rank in the Hip-Hop spectrum these days?
As far as North Carolina goes, it’s kinda in the middle of everything. You can find anything here from your up north rappers that’s super lyrical with no hooks and straight bars to rappers with the dirty south style that’s more slowed down. It’s really like North Carolina is kinda stuck in the middle of pop culture. It’s people from everywhere in North Carolina, so you might find a little bit of everything in here which makes it kinda the perfect place to find new artists. I definitely think that we hold our own and when you look at what’s come outta of the state: 9th Wonder, Little Brother, J. Cole and Petey Pablo it’s hard to argue.
Is there unity among artists from North Carolina?
I mean it depends on the artist. It doesn’t matter where you go on earth, it’s going to be real people and fake people everywhere you go. With that being said it’s going to be people that hate you because you’re becoming successful and it’s going to be people that support you because you’re being successful. I mean I don’t feel there’s a divide between artists here. I don’t feel like it’s anymore divided than any other place. I don’t feel like it’s anymore unified than any other place.
Is it indeed true that you caught your producing bug while in the military?
Actually I never made a beat until I did a tour in Iraq. I was in Iraq for 15 months, but I think after about 5 months during my deployment is when I think I had went through every record that I had on my computer and I just ran out of beats.
Can you tell us how you could find the focus and dedication to producing while in Iraq? I think if I had been in Iraq and in that type of environment I think I would have been probably too on edge to do anything like that.
A lot of people ask me that and the way I look at it man, if you gon’ go you gon’ go. If it’s your time, it’s your time. People over there are doing what they do and we doing what we do. If there’s a confrontation then there’s going to be a confrontation. It’s pretty much the same thing as being on any corner, in any city, in any state to me. I don’t really look at places as being more dangerous than other places because you could be in the suburbs and somebody run up on you.
Did you take up learning how to produce first and then migrated to rapping or was it the other way around?
That’s what actually I tryna to get at with the earlier question. It was really just a supply and demand situation like I was in a war zone, you may have email and internet and then you may not have it. I really couldn’t always get to the MWR to download beats from the internet so it had eventually got to a point like I was doing music with a big bunch of people and it was one dude making beats that everybody was going to. I didn’t want to ask him for a beat every single time that I needed one so I started making my own beats. As of currently right now though, we got Sweetz Got Beatz and a couple other producers that’s been carrying the weight with the production on my projects.
As a new rap artist, what do you think separates you for all the other artists coming out this year?
I think that the angle that I’m coming from separates me from a lot of artists. There’s a lot of artists that rap and say a lot of things that sound good. Then, it’s a lot of artists that say things that are true but it might not necessarily sound good. But as far as validity mixed with talent, I feel like I’m in my own lane with that.
Your upcoming new mixtape is called “Welcome To Reidsville.” Can tell us a little bit about it?
I’m from Reidsville, NC and on this project I wanted to definitely represent my home city because my home city has been very supportive of my career. It was long process in putting this mixtape together as compared to the last two mixtapes (“Born Alone, Die Alone” and “Too Real For Radio Vol. 1”) that I had put out before this one. For “Welcome To Reidsville” I picked the music that I felt fit what’s going on in my life, what’s going on in the music game, what’s going on with my current situation as far as everything from financially to day to day. I would say I wanted it to be a representation of me right now so that it’s like a time capsule. I can go back and listen to this mixtape and I’d know exactly how I felt, exactly what was going on in my life. From everything to how I was feeling to what I was doing at that time when I dropped that project.
You have a few big features on the project like Ca$h Out and most notably Rick Ross. Can you talk about how you two linked to work on a track?
The Rick Ross feature was actually through my big homie Doe in ATL. He looked out on that and made that happen for us. That was definitely a blessing that just happened to happen. It was one of those situations with me being in the right place at the right time. The Ca$h Out situation was through my mentor Ricky Ross with Capitol Records. It was crazy because he took me to this studio in downtown Atlanta where Ca$h Out was working on some music and playing some records that he had already done. In the studio with him was this producer and dude was cold. He had some cold beats, so we all smoking, they got bottles in there and we was just posted up in the cut. While the producer was playing beats, we were just smoking and I’m just in my zone and I just start freestyling. I looked up and I seen him (Ca$h Out) look up and I just kept freestyling and going in. I’m smashing it with then the beat stopped and the producer was like ‘yo dude you dope’ and right then he (Ca$h Out) was like where the record at. He was ready to go in now and it was just cool. He was really down to earth. We chopped it up after he layed his verse and this was like the weekend right before he left to attend the BET Awards in LA.
If there was a movie that could describe this mixtape what would you compare it too?
I would say Boyz-N-Da-Hood because you got the one cat that grew up around street dudes and other people in the neighborhood. The part where he’s with his moms, then he comes back to his dad’s crib in the hood, things are different there, but he’s still good with his peoples. They hold him down when things happen. I think that’s the perspective I took on my mixtape. Its not really on some “fly guy” stuff but its not tryin to be the hardest dude in the streets either. Its just stating my opinion and basically me doing me right or wrong. I shoutout a lot of people that may or may not do music and its people I really came up around and influenced my life not even just musically. I been around my team so long from the From The Ground Up/You World Global team to my G.H.S.L. squad, and we been through so much together that they more like family than just labelmates or a rap group.
Any final words before we close out?
I definitely want to shout out my whole team: G.H.S.L. fam, Reidsville, from Reidsville to all the parts of North Carolina and South Carolina, DRS Productions, MSLB Management, You World Global Media, Caroline Music Group, Capitol Records, No Smiles Gang, Nerve DJ’s, Fleet DJ’s, Coalition DJ’s, all my supporters and my family out here from the streets to the board rooms for supporting the movement and all the staff behind the scenes doing everything from promo to marketing to working were I can get in the club with no I.D. And for anybody that got anything to do with Young Dirt I appreciate that.
– Seneca “The Beast” Doss