Major label rappers are getting younger and younger nowadays, thanks to how the internet has leveled the playing field when it comes to making and releasing music. Sixteen-year-old rapper YSN Flow took advantage of the changing landscape, and has benefitted with his song "Want Beef" featuring BaeBae Savo accumulating nearly 17 million Spotify streams to date. The warm reception to his music and movement earned him a deal with Republic Records this year. Two weeks ago, he dropped his debut mixtape, Flow $ZN, as he continues to make a name for himself. This week, he's the featured artist on The Break, where XXL catches up with his journey so far.
Rap began to grab hold of YSN Flow's life at 12 years old through freestyle sessions at recess in grade school. After a while, he and his friends became very confident in his talent, and he decided to take music seriously at 15. Thus, the genesis of his biggest song, "Want Beef?" took place. He actually made the song when he was 14, recording it in his closet and using a mitten as a pop filter. Flow ran an early version of the song by a friend, who told him to change the lyrics. "Want Beef?" finds YSN Flow rapping about handling issues in the street, but there's a youthful energy to it. Plus, the hook is memorable, from the lyrics to the melody.
The rising rhymer heeded his friend's advice to change some of the lyrics, and then dropped the song in April of 2019. The video for the track took off slowly but steadily, and at the same time, put all sorts of record labels on his line. Currently, the visual sits at more than 16 million YouTube views. Other songs like "Illegal Guns," on which the second verse features him wanting to make his mom happy by getting off the block, and "Like That," which currently sits at over 1 million Spotify streams, continue to go up.
With Republic Records' support, and his debut tape out for the masses, he's got a promising future, all before he turns 18. Lean more about YSN Flow below.
Hometown: Cleveland Heights, Ohio
I grew up listening to: "I ain't really listen to a lot of music growing up, but I listened to the artists that were poppin' at the time, so I'll listen to Juice [WRLD], X[XXtentacion], 6ix9ine, all the artists who had a prime. Even now, I don't even listen to music. I just like to do my own thing."
My style’s been compared to: "NLE Choppa, Lil Tecca, Lil Tjay, thats about it."
I’m going to blow up because: "When I really wanna do something, I make sure it get done. Coming up, I used to go to Hobby Lobby and steal letters, then go to Walmart and steal shirts, and go home and iron the letters on the shirt and sell it at school as merch. I was able to buy my own studio, so that was like my hustle at the time. It was just a whole bunch of dumb shit I did growing up just tryna make some money."
What’s your most slept-on song, and why? "'Oh Okay!' Nobody for real understands how the song happened. I went to Atlanta and I recorded the song, then I got back and I was talking to my brother about the song. He like, 'Bruh, you gotta drop that.' And it was like 9 o'clock at night. And I just called my videographer and said, 'I need a video shot and done tomorrow.' He pulled up at 10 at night, we shot until 1 in the morning. And I just dropped it the next day. It hit a million in a week."
My standout records to date have been: "'Want Beef?,' 'llegal Guns' and 'Dirt!' It's like melodic and catchy. When I make a song, I try to make it catchy. Something that everybody gon' wanna keep singin' over and over. I know good music. That's all that I listen to."
My standout moments to date have been: "Selling out a show at the Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash. It was actually crazy. I even got to perform on the big stage. When I started to perform, I was on the little stage. I jumped off the stage and I put the microphone next to the speaker, and it just blew out all of the electricity. At the time, I was messing with United Masters. They wanted to sign me, so labels do shit for niggas. They still wanted me to perform, so they asked NLE Choppa could I open for him. He said yeah, and I got to open. It was a whole bunch of good feedback.
Most people don’t know: "My age 16 and my body count [is] above that. I got a girlfriend now, I chilled out."
I’m going to be the next: "Sixteen-year-old artist to get a platinum plaque in 2020."
Follow YSN Flow on SoundCloud and Instagram.
"Want Beef?" featuring BaeBae Savo
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