Published on October 21st, 2019 | by Percy Crawford0
Young Bleed Joins “No Limit Reunion Tour,” Opens Up About Baton Rouge’s Hip Hop Scene!
Young Bleed is widely known for his 1997 hit, “How Ya Do Dat,” but the Baton Rouge, Louisiana legend, career expands beyond that one hit!
There’s no mistaken a, Young Bleed track. His mellow, slowed down voice is distinctive and has been spinning on radio waves for over 20-years. Along with guys like, C-Loc, he helped pave the way for Baton Rouge to be on the hip-hop map back in the mid to late 90’s. In fact, as one of the pioneers to Baton Rouge getting recognition, many thought, YB was a New Orleans rapper. His connection to Master P helped project this narrative as well. Master P would take, Bleed’s hit song, “How Ya Do Dat” to the next level. Placing the song on, “I’m Bout It” movie soundtrack made it a hit long before it appeared on, Young Bleed’s debut album, “My Balls & My Word.” With that traction, “My Balls & My Word,” was a certified classic. Reaching #10 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums Billboard. Bleed would follow up his 1998 debut with several albums including, “My Own,” in 1999, “Vintage” in 2002, “Young Bleed Presents Da Carleone Family-Family Business, in 2004 and 7-more albums following that including his latest release, “Wut’Uh’ Life, in June. No slowing down for, Young Bleed who started his own independent label, Trap Door Entertainment and his son, Ty’Gee Ramon is the first artists on the label.
During my recent conversation with, Young Bleed he opens up about recently being robbed in Dallas, Texas and why it’s so difficult to reach the youth in today’s climate.
What’s good with you, OG?
Young Bleed: Pretty good, man. Hanging in there. Staying in it to win it. Another day at the office. Ya know.
You up north now, right?
Young Bleed: No, I’m back at home in Baton Rouge as we speak, Louisiana.
You are on this No Limit Reunion Tour now, a lot of people excited about that. I’m sure it’s something you’re looking forward to as well.
Young Bleed: Actually, we are still working out some of the dates. I know the Chicago date is concrete as far as I’m concerned. We still trying to see what’s up with the St. Louis date. I know it’s advertised, but as far as the rest of the tour, I agreed to it and all that, I’m just waiting to get the finalization with the rest of the days and how they gonna transpire. But yeah, it’s a beautiful thing. A long time coming.
The crazy thing is, you were never actually signed to No Limit Records. A lot of people didn’t know that because, “How Ya Do Dat,” felt like a No Limit record.
Young Bleed: Nah, it was more of family street ties between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. We all worked together. When we were coming up, [Master] P was a little further off in the game of course. But yeah, that was the whole connection with us having that vibe back and forth. We just kept that affiliation. Shout out to, Master P for giving me that plug to Priority Records in 1997. They became the overall umbrella that we all got under, you know what I mean.
Back then, a lot of people thought you were from New Orleans and not Baton Rouge. Did you get that a lot?
Young Bleed: Yeah, actually the thing is, I was raised by my step pop who was from the 9th Ward, but my daddy from Baton Rouge. My daddy half-raised me until him and my mother’s breakup somewhere before I want to say I was 10-years old. Then my step pops started coming around, so I’m raised by a New Orleans man. My granddaddy was a World War II veteran. He died in Veteran’s Hospital in New Orleans. For those that know the history, his name was, James Donald Johnson Sr. “J.D.” or “Good Bleed,” and if you know the movie, “JD’s Revenge,” it was shot in New Orleans. So, that’s still my whole essence one way or the other; Baton Rouge/New Orleans.
You were definitely one of the pioneers of putting Baton Rouge on the map in terms of them having formidable rappers in the region. Are you surprised by the rise of the cities rap talent pool or did you know it was only a matter of time?
Young Bleed: It’s just like anywhere else. We watched the evolution of hip-hop go from New York to the west coast, down south to the Midwest. It’s pretty much bicoastal now. But the same way… when I was coming up, it was in the early 80’s. I’m a 70’s baby but going into the 80’s as far as the whole evolution of hip-hop. But I watched it just like everybody else in the world watched it and then I started doing my thing like in 1983. I was in 4th grade, but I still was a kid when it was really minute. There are a few other guys who I give respect to, that was in the city not even in the country town. So, we were doing it our own way just like any other revolution and any other city or town, and definitely country town. So, we had a harder upbringing and a harder struggle being that it wasn’t New York or California and it wasn’t expected coming out of a place like this. So, I watched that slow rise, so I eventually knew that that would catch on in so many ways and eventually it did. So yeah, like that.
It’s rough out there in BR right now with so many of the rappers beefing. You are the, OG of this game, you ever thought of having an, OG moment with some of this young talent and try to bring them together as opposed to having them so divided, but at this rate, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to end well?
Young Bleed: I’ll share something with you slightly, but I can’t really get in depth with it because I got a few interviews coming up at the top of next. Shout out to all my H-Town connections between Baton Rouge and H-Town. So, I have already committed to doing these exclusive interviews with some other people on the matter, but based on what you said, I can give you a quick briefing. Like I said, I can’t get in depth because that’s where it is, and it will spread out. But that’s been my whole evolution. I tell everybody, Young Bleed Carleone, meaning I’m the young that bleed for our young generation. The only other rapper named, Young anything before me was in the 80’s and that’s shouts out to, Young MC. Tone Loc nem and that wasn’t even gangster rap or reality rap-based type of thing. “Bust A Move” was a party record. In my evolution as far as being a rapper with the name, “Young” I patterned that in every sense of the word. But saying that to say this, I was a baby to hip-hop just like the old head and I grew up with a lot of OG’s that I looked up to and admired. I was a fan of their music and still a fan to the game; Doug E. Fresh to Ice Cube. When I met these guys… Snoop Dogg, you name em. So, my whole gift back is to do what hip-hop did for us, to reach the youth. The complications we are having nowadays, some of the youth are young and old wise like I was. I ran with older guys and old men. So, my pops raised me like this, you can hang with young cats and cats younger than you, but they can’t really teach you know more than you already know if they can teach you anything at all. So, I got that old man evolution as a young cat.
Now, I’m that forever young shit who is trying to bridge the gap between young and old. Sometimes I can reach some of these youthful guys. The crazy thing about it is, you mentioned Baton Rouge and the evolution of hip-hop here, [Lil] Boosie is my lil cousin down the family tree and down the same block and the same street. I want to say the year he was born, that’s the year I started rapping. I watched that growth for 10-20 years which eventually grew into what he got going on now. YoungBoy Never Broke Again is family to me from a distance. My first son shouts out to Ty’Gee Ramon, he is the first artists on my label, his mother… they family. I went to school with, YoungBoy’s mother. We went to the same high school. We were friends. I hadn’t talked to her in years, but since high school we have known each other. The beginning of, Kevin Gates and all that type of thing. So, I was here and being that pivot at the time. Since I was the guy to look up to and was hands on. Not so much with, YoungBoy, but I worked with Gates, did records with, Gates and the same thing with, Boosie when they were coming up.
So, with all of this stuff that’s taking place now, I try to keep it to a minimum and try to circulate like Brooklyn to the Bronx and keep that unity in the community. But what I learned in a lot of places without that proper structure… we got Mosque buildings and this, that, and the other, but when you talk the evolution of New York and you listen to those, God MC’s, Rakim being one of my favorite rappers of all-time. Based on the, God MC and his whole evolution, I find myself somewhere in that type of spiritual connection a long time ago, so I aim high. Saying that in the same sense of having education. When you’re talking 5 percenters and so on and so forth. Some of that don’t exist down here or it’s in a real small fashion. We’re not schooled in that sense. So, unless you got a Muslim background or in your family, you’ll go to the Mosque. You’ll ride down these streets and realize we got Mosque down here too. That different evolution kind of set everything apart and everybody is doing their own thang. It’s a money thang and a fashion show and all that. For some of these youngsters they believe hip-hop just started in 2000 and they don’t respect the old school.
Is that disappointing?
Young Bleed: Well, I’m not even the real old school when you’re talking the, Doug E. Fresh, Too $hort and the 50-plus guys that I still look up to and admire because they still have the love for the game. Me being a student of the game, if you don’t know where you come from, know where you’re at, you don’t know where to take it. The only way I knew that is from watching those guys a long time ago. If they still do that, inspire me without visibility and not knowing them as personal family or friends, I got something out of that that I didn’t get in school. That became the theme of my life and the story of my life. Everything that came behind me, I wanted the same thing if not better for those guys. But everybody handled it and whipped it the way they gonna whip it. so, after a while I quit going against the grain.
I said all that to say this, I just left Dallas, Texas a couple of nights ago and before I got on a greyhound, I got robbed by some young niggaz our there, my nigga. So, when you talk about… “Hey, what’s up, OG?” You trying to come back… Nipsey Hussle was murdered this year. We talk about it and everybody seem to come together over death, but if I still can’t walk the streets in my community and have me a regular smoke with a black man on the street corner. And I’m talking, it wasn’t just the youngsters. It was a whole lil clicked up situation that was going on at the bus stop that my delayed bus allowed me to get there at a certain time. That put me in that transit. And being the type of person, I am, I’m a ghetto child, so I’m gonna go to the block and smoke me a cigarette and, “Hey, what’s happening,” and try not to get too far from what I’m doing. People running a game and taking advantage. It’s 20 to 1… yeah, with majority being youngsters. I saw it was youngsters, so I respect it and tried to contribute by showing that love, but even when you’re doing that, there is no morals nowadays.
Those that really respect this generation now… I mean, it’s a t-shirt contest down here. They are more concerned with death instead of living life, trying to look towards the future and building. I’m not speaking on everybody and towards everybody, but I’m sharing a little bit of my personal experience that I went through as recent as… shit, Monday night/Tuesday morning. I never left the bus station. I got another ticket after the hoopla. Some guys, kind of did some shit and slipped something on me and I walked away with my life. I was cornered before I knew it by 7-youngsters who I was hanging with for about 5-minutes; less than 5-minutes. Before I know it, they got on me and… “Hol up, man.” And after knowing who I was. When you wanna come back and, “Hey, OG-OG,” OG my ass, my nigga. You know what I mean. In that sense it’s hard. When you look at the record execs and anybody else of that caliber, black or white folks, and you want to come back to these places and help some people out, reassure yourself, well that’s that danger zone that we talk about. You can’t get comfortable in your own hometown. I love Dallas and know it like the back of my hand. That’s actually my second home. When I left Louisiana as far as moving and uprooting my family and moving into another state and city, it was Dallas, Texas in 2004. So, to come back after I had done lived out there for 7-years or so. I done lived on each side and about 10-cities in that circle alone. To come back and have that happen, what kind of rude awakening is that? That’s what I’m dealing with just trying to regroup and set a foundation. I got kids and grandkids, so my whole thing is the future. From Max Minelli to Boosie to whoever. I always looked at it like, I’m going to do my thing, but what’s coming after me. Pac said, “After me it’s, Thug Life baby, then the Outlawz and then the youngest thug of all.” It’s the same method to the madness.
I really hate hearing about you getting robbed like that.
Young Bleed: There is a blues song that says, “I never saw a U-Haul follow a hearse to the grave. It ain’t about this material shit and what you going to take with you. We passing through, so each one teach one. I stand on those fundamentals, but to each is own. You can yell all day. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink, man. If you want it, it’s there. Seek and you shall find. So, I’m open to whoever open in that sense of righteousness and positiveness to do something because the children are the future, but if the children don’t get it together and the parents don’t know that construction between the household and the school or if you’re home schooling or whatever, public schools or private schools, it’s where we are going as a human race. We all kind of out to get each other. And everybody’s not like that on the planet, but that’s what you dealing with trying to do anything on that side of the fence.
There was a website (www.whereyat.com) that did the top 20 NOLA songs of all time and, “How Ya Do Dat,” came in at #7. When you think of the impact of that song and its relevance still today, what a masterpiece.
Young Bleed: My whole thing is, God first because I couldn’t fly a frisbee that long and expect it to be flying 22-years later. Keep in mind, in the southern region of the globe, the part we live in, the whole origin of that, that was my original song. I produced it, co-produced it, me and Happy Perez. Shout out to, Happy Perez. Then eventually it was re-enhanced by, “Beats By The Pound” once No Limit got their hands on it. I couldn’t ask for a better time and situation. P connected me to Priority in June of 1997. That was 3-months after the demise of Biggie Smalls. I was a young kid, 22, going on 23-years old, under that trivia, what just happened to, Pac… damn, what just happened to, BIG, and now I’m out here. Mention that southern region with that original record, that’s, Bleed record, but the world didn’t know that. I thought, by the time I get a solo album we would just re-release it and everybody would just get that version.
The original, “How Ya Do Dat” which was actually called, “The Fool,” the hook was, “How Ya Do Dat There.” But once it reached the masses and we did the remix, it catapulted. Of course, he put it on that, “Bout It” soundtrack in the summer. So, why I was coming up, I hadn’t dropped, “My Balls and My Word,” it wouldn’t come till January of ’98, it gave me the perfect hot summer, alley oop and so on and so forth. Plus, with a movie. I come in it with a movie soundtrack. So, let alone trying to get a record deal with a demo tape, I had the best of both worlds for me with a movie and the music without even being in a major film or nothing like that. So, without the world seeing my face and to take to it like that, and again, keep in mind, it’s only one verse. One verse done lasted the test of time for me for 22-years. I done performed and been doing material and albums and you name it. I’m still living off of one verse from 1996 (laughing). That’s God. We couldn’t ask for it to be like that.
YB, it’s been an honor and hopefully we will keep these interviews going. If you think, Young Bleed fell off lyrically, go download that, “Wut’ Uh’ Life,” album. Is there anything else you want to add?
Young Bleed: Much love and respect to ya’ll for reaching out to me. Like you said, let’s keep this continued. Don’t let this be the last one. The next one will be a continued blessed one. Just that type of thing. Like the man say, ya’ll stay in tune. If you haven’t picked up the, “Wut’ Uh’ Life” album, get up on that. It’s the rebirth in one sense with my label, Trap Door Entertainment. Perhaps I’ll release something else. We’re right at the end of the year, but I got a few projects that’s on the shelf. My son, Ty’Gee Ramon is on the label and you can keep up with us on YouTube, Trap Door Entertainment is the page, Twitter @YoungBleed_, Instagram, therealyoungbleed for all updates and music.Tweet