INTROducing: Young H

13 Aug

I must say friends, as of lately, life has been pretty nifty. I’m fast approaching my move to the left coast and I’ve been able to resuscitate my passion for blogging with a vengeance that has surpassed even my own expectations. However, it is the fact that I was able to go in with the master of going in, that is the proverbial cherry on top of my sundae right now.

My first encounter with Young H was quite serindipitous. One day I just so happened to check out this blog that I had never heard of, and just so happened to click on an article by a writer I had never heard of , and the rest is now well documented history. For me , reading his blog post was like finding a precious jewel in pile of cow dung . I was so moved by the eloquence and craftmanship of his piece that I commented, which is something I rarely do, and professed my allegiance to the site solely off the strength of  what I had just read. It has been on few occasions that I’ve come across a writer/blogger whose work has captivated me to the point where I actually read slowly. I’m  a speed reader and I’ll often skip or skim over sections of text that don’t interest me, and I get bored very easily.

I was more than intrigued, and as any tech savvy person would do ,I googled him baby, and fell into the world of Young H, founder of Go In Radio, hip-hop intellectual, music lover, writer extraordinaire ( even if he doesn’t think so), and all around cool cat. We began to exchange pleasantries on Twitter and that brought us to our present relationship status as interviewer and interviewee.

I must say I was mad nervous as the time to begin our interview drew near. I got the feeling that he would be the type to verbally chin check me if I came with some run-of-the-mill wackness so I was determined to come with my A game and engage him as cleverly as I could.  To my surprise Young H was disarmingly humble, graciously receptive, delightfully talkative, and most of all, gave me free reign to go in. So sit back, relax, and get to know a little more about Young H………..

La Bombe Baby: So Young H, the man, the myth, the legend…I’m extremely excited to be talking to you tonight. As you may remember, I electronically threw my panties at you a while back after reading your now ‘infamous’ post on Potholes In My Blog, you gained quite a bit of attention for that piece, have you gained any other groupies, besides myself?

Young H: Oh boy, this is how you start off an interview

LBB: Yeah, I try…..

YH: I got a lot of attention from simply speaking my mind on that topic, people have known me for speaking my mind on varying topics for years but I guess that really struck a chord and it went a lot further than I thought it would. To answer your question, no I didnt really gain any groupies. I don’t really make that big a deal of myself or buy into the idea of that piece being a big deal where other people might have.

LBB: Well for me it was certainly a big deal specifically because of how well written it was, I didn’t even really care too much about the topic (not to say I didn’t find it interesting) but I was just floored by the quality of your writing, it rejuvenated me in the sense that it showed there is a place for quality writing in the blogging world, but then again you’re not a fucking blogger are you? To you what is the difference between a blogger who writes and a writer who blogs, if there is any difference at all.

YH: Well, really when I came up with the name of my personal site it was for the sake of having a catchy title and I was shocked no one else had the URL already. But really it was kind of taking a shot at folks like the “bloggers” I went at in that now quasi-legendary piece. A widely read publication came up with lists of their top 50 bloggers, many of whom get a lot of traffic just for posting up music they’re sent. Blogs are powerful sources of information and I guess technically anything with a WordPress re-direct can be called a blog, but (when I can make time) if I’m discussing Hip-Hop (one of the most important things in the world to me) I try to bring material of substance. Not that the big name bloggers don’t write, but one of my targets is lauded for starting up controversy, and people love the other because they break new music. 

I’m hardly the jealous type, I just wasn’t feeling the atmosphere of Hip-Hop blogging for a while and spoke up about it. Do your thing, but if that’s what it means to be a blogger then I’m not a fucking blogger. As for you complimenting my writing, much obliged, but I still definitely feel like I have a ways to go because it isn’t a natural talent of mine. It takes a lot out of me and some days I struggle to find the passion for it.

LBB: I’m very shocked to hear that writing, for you, is not a natural talent because it definitely doesn’t come across that way. I’ve read some of your pieces over at 215 Magazine and they’re brilliantly written as well; witty, engaging, informative, and well researched. How did you fall into Hip-Hop journalism?

YH: Again thank you, but it’s quite laborious. I’ve been writing for 6 years now, my mentor was with AllHipHop in 2004 and she just kind of put me to work doing album reviews for them in the beginning. I totally sucked from jump, but I stayed at it, practiced, wrote for some other places here and there, and now I think I’m just okay but there have been moments where I’ve felt a marked improvement recently.

The 215 Magazine connection happened the same way this interview has, the magic of Twitter. I’m eternally grateful to the founders, Tayyib Smith and Matthew Bacine, for giving me an outlet for exposure. One day Tayyib made a tweet saying “I need a Hip-Hop editorial intern, if you know of anyone pass them along” I jumped on it immediately, he tested my mettle with a few assignments, we met to speak, and have had a working relationship since . It’s all kind of surreal at points to even write things that make people talk, but I’ve embraced it though it’s been uneasy. I’m really my own harshest critic with writing, but people whose word I trust say my stuff is cool so I’m learning to believe it. I put a lot of pressure on myself as opposed to actually practicing, which may hold me back to some degree.

LBB: That’s a great testament to the power that social networking sites have, and I can relate with the putting a lot of pressure on yourself, especially when you’re doing something, such as writing, that will be open to public scrutiny. So if writing is not your true passion, what is?

YH: That’s the leading question of all leading questions, haha. My passion is communication, I’m way accessible on Twitter and I reply to almost anyone who speaks in my direction so long as they aren’t asking me to play A&R and hear their music. I don’t want to sound cocky or off-putting but I’ll hear your music if I’m meant to. I know and follow behind a lot of people who are always on the hunt for new musical goodness the way that I am, so if it’s not on my radar now it’ll be in due time and if it’s never on my radar via my social network then I’m probably not meant to hear it.

Before I get to the crux of your question let me just say I know I took a blogger to task for having similar views of being closed off to music they were unfamiliar with (the artist Vandalyzm’s mixtape) but I also don’t have a site dedicated to being on the supposed ‘pulse’ of the culture where I receive submissions. I’m just on twitter to share, build, laugh, grieve and self-promote on the weekends. Which brings me to addressing my passion, my life goes into this podcast of mine. What started as a way for me to talk through a very dark period in the spring of 2008 when I couldn’t afford therapy has now become where much of my energy goes. Goinradio.com for those not in the know.

LBB: So are you implying that you are closed off to music/artists you’re unfamiliar with? If somebody sent you a tweet right now with a link saying “check this out” you wouldn’t give it 15 seconds?

YH: I’m not closed off to music I’m unfamiliar with, I’ll just trust the word of people with my similar tastes before I go out there trying to hear everything that comes out. There’s A LOT of rappers in the world, they outnumber almost any single profession I can think of off the top of my head. It feels like there are more rappers than blue collar workers in the world at times, but that can’t be an accurate figure. Or can it?

LBB: Uhhhhmmm I think it’s a pretty accurate figure because I know more than half of the dudes at my job walk around spitting verses like they’re auditioning for Mr. Rap Supreme, the allure of being a rap star is very provocative in this day and age….especially when you’re slaving on a 9 to 5 that you really can’t stand.

 YH: Tell them to give it up, the world doesn’t need anymore rappers trying to make a quick buck…….

LBB: Ahhh I don’t have the heart to kill a dream, but I feel you heavily on that point though and I’m glad that you gave me a segue into talking about Go In Radio because I was just about to take it there. Let me just say I’m lovin the podcast, the music is always fresh. I’m intrigued by what you just said about the origins of the show,  so it began solely as an outlet for emotional release or did you always have aspirations to be in radio?

YH: As I said a minute ago, I was in a really bad place in March 2008. I was reeling off of a bad breakup and going through tough times. I was on the bus one afternoon coming back from New York (my original birthplace, I live in Philly now) and construction was being done on a bridge which messed traffic up, turning a 2 hour trip into 3 1/2 hours. Between everything else I was going through and that longer than usual bus ride, I decided I was going to buy a mic when I got off the bus and talk about my day. This birthed Go In Radio, Brooklyn MC Che Grand (get familiar if you aren’t) gave new rise to the term going in, on this obscure song he said “This is a Go In DJ world premier” or something, so I ran with it and called my show Go In Radio.

Also, at the time Von Pea & Donwill of rap group Tanya Morgan had a podcast of their own but they were touring so the show was on hiatus and I always found it cool. Combine me missing what I got from that show, me going through a rough patch, and seeing a void of the type of music I love being heard by the people and nearly 122  consecutive weeks later here I am. Much like I said earlier with the writing, my first few shows were HORRIBLE, but now I’m pretty confident with what I’m doing. Like, I was once confronted by someone unhappy with some things I said on the show and dude was still like “It’s a good show, you should stop the bullshit though” hahaha. Even if you find yourself disturbed, it seems there’s still something to love.

LBB: Well it’s apparent the show is truly a labor of love for you, and I’m assuming it doesn’t generate any income. What numbers are you pulling as far as listeners are concerned? Do you find yourself sweating stats or do you not care if it’s 10 or 1000 tuning in?

YH: What I haven’t seen in money, I’ve made up for in personal gratification. Rappers I’ve never met know that they can come to me for support if I like what they’re doing. In the beginning I cared about whether people checked it, but as time goes on it’s not nearly a secret and I figure people will check it if they have the time and desire. It’s something associated with my online presence at this point, Kobe Bryant plays basketball, Diddy is extra and he’s the man behind Ciroc & Bad Boy (is there even still a Bad Boy?) the names Jay-Z & Beyonce go hand in hand, the name Young H is associated with “going in” in it’s many facets on Twitter and this podcast of mine.

LBB: I feel that. Now, I want to talk a little bit about your musical selection process, I’ve been put on to some dopeness via Go In Radio. Is it true that you stopped listening to the radio over a decade ago? How do you compile the playlists for your shows?

YH: The only way I know what’s popular or on the radio is if I’m in someone’s car or at a club which I don’t do much anymore. Like, I’d be in a club and a song that had been out for 4 months would come on and I’d have to do the math in my head and listen for the hook and say to myself “Oh, I guess this is the song everyone has been talking about.”  I gave up on the radio once I saw it had nothing to offer me in the way of good music, or on the rare occasion that I do like a popular song I don’t want it to be played out quickly for me, and the radio will do that. Some people don’t mind hearing the same song once an hour everyday, I need more variety.

Take two examples, “BMF” by Rick Ross and “Power” by Kanye West. I’m not crazy about “BMF”, but I like the majority of the Teflon Don album (a popular misconception is I’m a backpacker and that couldn’t be further from the truth). I guess “BMF” is the song of the summer, it’s pretty unavoidable, but I can only recite the hook and I know he rhymes “I’m geechie hoe” with “I’m Meechie hoe” around the beginning but if I sat by the radio I’d know it all verbatim. I liked Kanye’s “Power” but I’ve only heard it once the weekend of Memorial Day when it leaked because I don’t want it to be ruined for me by the time the album comes out. 

As for my show, I’m ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS on the hunt for newness, and it doesn’t hurt to have a 120 gig Ipod and a 90 minute commute each day to and from work. I hit up my few sites of choice, listen to a lot of what it seems I should check for, and make a weekly podcast out of it. I’m beyond humbled that people have faith in my ear for music, it’s something I pride myself in.

LBB: Yeah I caught your tweet about “BMF” being overhyped as a great rap song, just like Halle Berry was overhyped as the standard for black beauty…funny shit man…and I was going to say that you seem to lean toward the more backpackerish side of the hip hop spectrum but I don’t like pigeonholing or labeling folks so I kept it to myself, but I know my taste is pretty open and I love everything you play. So what catches your ear as far as musical stylings are concerned? To you what constitutes the perfect song? Hip hop, r&b or otherwise….

Young H: What catches my ear first and foremost is production, then lyrics/flows/cadences/a rapper’s voice, wit, humor, how their message is conveyed.  The perfect song is just something that exhilirates me personally. It may strike a chord with me that maybe only a few others, if anyone at all, can relate to.

LBB: I’m a sucker for production as well…if the beat ain’t tight it’s just ain’t right…Have you ever been called a music snob, or something to that effect?

YH: Asking me if I’ve ever been called a music snob is like asking Kat Stacks if she’s ever been called on the phone by a rapper. I bullshit you not, last weekend I was out with a friend and she (maybe jokingly, maybe not) felt the need to have music I would approve of in her car, and she said the dreadful term “I know you’re a music snob”, which I’m not. First off, I’m not going to judge what you’re playing in *your* car, I’ll keep it to myself if it’s really that bad. But I’m not a snob, I just have refined tastes if I say so myself. You dont call a food critic a food snob because he prefers a five star restaurant over McDonalds. Case in point, a few Christmases ago I was over my best friend’s house and he had the Bow Wow/Omarion album playing, of COURSE I felt some kind of way about it, but I’m not gonna tell my man of 20+ years what he shouldnt be playing in his crib.

LBB: Bow Wow and Omarion? Nice, that must’ve been something akin to waterboarding….and having refined tastes is absolutuely necessary in this day and age…there is a loooooot of music out there to wade through. As someone who heavily untilizes the net, how do you feel about Prince’s sentiment that the internet is officially over in terms of music distribution and consumption ?

YH: Prince & Kool Herc need to stop being mad at people. Prince needs to realize you can only do but so much to control your music getting out there unless it’s strictly digital which makes it kind of harder to leak. But once your material hits a pressing plant if it’s on CD, embrace the fact that it’s gonna leak, you’re gonna see whatever money you were meant to from touring and merchandising but unless you’re a pop star (which Prince arguably is not in this day and age), you aren’t selling records.

As for Kool Herc, he needs to accept that parenting is often a thankless job, I don’t know if he actually has kids but he’s been credited as the father of Hip-Hop, his child has become an adult and is making their own decisions now even if he finds these decisions troubling. They say it takes a village, and while plenty have tried and continue to try steering this life form in the right direction, Hip-Hop suffers from multiple personality disorder and is going to be many things to many people. Hip-Hop is going to be done strictly for the love one second and strictly for the money the next, and I’m sure any parent would be pained to see their child grow up to suffer from multiple personalities, but it is what it is. You dont chastise your child, you love them and find the beauty within them despite their ugly struggles.  

Now, as for Prince saying the internet is dead, I dont know what to make of that. I always like to say I pay rent for my apartment but I live on the internet. It’s the most relevant invention I can think of, almost anyone with a desk job uses it, it’s how I got many writing opportunities, it’s how I have my small devoted Twitter following, it’s how this interview has taken place. I dont know if he’s upset or just plain old uninformed, but you can’t be more wrong to think the internet lacks in any sort of relevance.  Also, I think it’s really bitch ass that I can’t listen to my Prince song of choice by going to Youtube because he doesn’t allow his stuff on there. He expects me to go to Itunes and purchase it if I wanna get my instant “I Would Die For You” on, legendary status aside he can kick rocks. Now run and tell THAT homeboy, shout out to Antoine Dodson

LBB: In regards to Prince, He said ” The internet is like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated.” I see some truth to that, in fact I think it ties back into the post you wrote on Potholes. The internet was something like the wild wild west,  there was free reign and lawlessness, and everybody lived by thier own scruples….now it seems as if there’s an unwritten code of conduct, a forced status quo  surrounding certain mediums, like blogs for example, would you agree that it’s only a matter of time before the internet falls prey to censorship and regulation?

YH: To borrow from Posdnuos, the internet is here to stay like racism. My 15 year old brother gets music from datpiff.com and I had no clue he knew his way around the internet. A lot of rappers owe their success to the internet, from smaller names to Drake whose So Far Gone mixtape made him a star before he had a deal. There’s only but so much that can be done, sites with leaked albums are like roaches. Kill one and 10 more pop up in its wake. The internet has provided vehicles for the holiest of holy to the most depraved, no one can censor anything that’s on here.

LBB: Do you think Hip-hop is always going to suffer from multiple personalities or do you feel that one day all the fractured parts will come together to form a whole, a unified front, there’s been more than enough bickering about what is hip hop, what isn’t hip hop, who has a place in hip hop, who doesn’t….what are your thoughts? 

YH: There is no “real” Hip-Hop, I can’t stand the term unless you mean that a person’s reputation precedes them. We can say Rick Ross makes “fake” Hip-Hop and Freddie Foxx makes “real” hip-hop because he gets it how he lives. But it’s all Hip-Hop, music is either good or bad. Wacka Flocka Flame has his place with whatever poor soul he resonates with, the same way an artist like Homeboy Sandman will reach whoever he is meant to. They’re both making Hip-Hop, just from two completely different places and perspectives, your average Wacka fan wouldn’t understand Boy Sand and I’m sure your average AOK fan considers Wacka Flocka to be worthless music. As I was telling a friend this morning, I have bare minimum requirements for the rappers I like. A small amount of wit, some originality, but more than anything, be comprehensible.

LBB: What surpasses the threshold of your musical tolerance, whose music will you not do under any circumstances?

YH: The music I won’t listen to are the dudes who couldn’t make a thoughtful verse if it meant bringing Michael Jackson back from the dead, and we’d all love if that could happen. If Gucci Mane, Plies, OJ Da Juice Man and others in that vein were left with the responsibility to come up with a meaningful song to bring Mike back, they would fail us all.

LBB:  Plies and Oj, I’m not too sure, but Gucci is kinda clever though, I think he could pull it off, I think he’s a lot more lyrically deft than he puts on. Well sir, our time is winding to a close and though I’d love to pick your brains some more,  all good things must come to an end, I’m going to end this with one question.  Simply put, what is the supreme vision that Young H has for Go In Radio?

YH: My vision is to touch the people, to take them with me along my life’s journey. It’s a very personal experience that I share with the world. I dont pull many punches on there and this was a trait learned from my personal hero, Howard Stern. People falsely view him as this chauvinist or racist (this is the MOST WRONG thing you can say about the man, I’ve challenged people to show me examples of his racism and they’ve lost), but he serves his audience and talks openly about his personal life. If I’m having a rough time at work, you’re gonna hear about it if I feel I can make compelling art out of speaking on it. If I’m having woman troubles, you’re gonna hear about it (this is guaranteed like 2Pac’s infamous bear taking a shit in the woods and wiping his ass with a white rabbit allegory), but most of all I want to give the people me .

I’ve  never had the desire to rap, I don’t know my way around a beat machine or a canvas to paint. My art comes from my soul’s expression of speaking on life, poking fun at things, and hopefully putting my audience on to music they can enjoy the way that I have. Exposing the world to good music is what has come to be expected of me and it’s an undertaking I don’t dare complain about, this is my gift from God if I’m to believe in such things. I’m not doing this to blow up or become famous, I do it for people to have something to relate to, laugh at or be pissed off about when the things I say involve them, the true definition of art to me comes without regard for reward but the inner fullfillment of reaching people. Most of all, this obsession of mine has spared my sanity and it gives me something fun to be creative with.  

LBB: Well, when you’re creating from the soul public opinion really can’t compete. Everybody has their path in this life and when you’re on it, you’re on….Go In Radio has become one of my favorite music outlets and you’ve become one of my favorite people,  even if you did go in on my homegirl Kelis, but like you said even if you find yourself disturbed there’s always something to love, and love the show I do. Keep doing your thing and I look forward to more quality podcasts.

YH: On a side note I’m often asked who I believe is “next” or who I believe that people should check for. Right now I’m riding hard with Odd Future. I’m not personally affiliated with these kids, but they’ve breathed new life into the culture and helped me through some recent strenous situations. Start with the Odd Future Tape and muster up the courage to get into some of the other work if you enjoy that. It gets pretty dark and disturbing at points, but this is the show these teenagers are creating the same way Kool G Rap was running drug capers and Biggie was sticking people up on his first album.

 LBB: I’m glad you brought them up because I meant to ask you which artists you were really feeling right now. I did check out the Odd Future  site after I saw you gave them a cosign and I’ll be sure to give the music a thorough listen as well.

YH: Thank you LB, I’m humbled you wished for me to run my mouth so long for your site.

LBB: It was my pleasure, thanks for your time and be blessed H.

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One Response to “INTROducing: Young H”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Earlin’ in the Evening…… « LA BOMBE BABY - September 1, 2010

    […] fan. Peace to Young H of Go In Radio for being the first one to put me on to OFWGKTA through our interview a while back. His last podcast is ill, as always, and features some of their joints, check it here. […]

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