By Njera Perkins
More often in recent years do we find ourselves asking the infamous question, Is hip-hop dead? Some would argue that hip-hop has been teetering from one polar opposite to the other, but still there are some artists who have that raw and cutthroat talent that hip-hop fans have been seeking out. One of those artists in particular is upcoming Baton Rouge rapper, Youngboy Never Broke Again also known as NBA Youngboy.
Youngboy, born Kentrell DeSean Gaulden, is an 18-year-old rap prodigy hailing all the way from Louisiana who’s seen much success as a newcomer in the game. With his gritty, nostalgic music and brutally honest lyrics, he’s been able to acquire a ferocious following that’s taken his musical career to a whole new level. Coming from Baton Rouge, Youngboy has spoken on the the violence and fight for survival in the city. In an interview with Mass Appeal, he said “It’s either jail or death, like, literally. Ain’t no living out there.” To escape the dangers of his hometown, the Southern rapper turned to music to be his saving grace.
Growing up in his hometown was a rough experience for him. The three signature scars he wears on his forehead are the result of him wearing a halo brace when he was four after breaking his neck while wrestling. While he was staying with his grandmother, he dropped out his freshman year of high school. Shortly after that, he started getting into trouble facing robbery charges, which landed him in a juvenile detention center. Although his music didn’t keep him entirely out of trouble, it did help him make a change in his life.
While he was locked up, he focused on writing songs and plotting on his next moves. He released his first mixtape, “Life Before Fame,” back in 2015 and followed up with his sophomore mixtape “Mind of a Menace.” Once he got started, there was no stopping him; Afterwards he came out with “Mind of a Menace” 2 and 3 and “38 Baby.” He drew a lot of inspiration from rapper Young Scooter and that helped him develop a strong work ethic. He shared with XXL “I had told myself… because Young Scooter, I used to listen to a lot of Scooter. He dropped like four mixtapes a year. So I told myself every year I’m going to drop at least three mixtapes.”
Ever since, it seems like he’s kept his word. His mixtape “Al Youngboy” dropped back in August of this year and is some of his best work. Ever since he got released from prison, after beating murder charges and pleading guilty to assault with a firearm, he’s been trying to stay on the straight and narrow. He dropped his latest mixtape “Ain’t Too Long” just a few months ago and is already looking to follow up with a sequel.
Fans and industry folks have been showing him a lot of love and wish to see the young artist succeed. He’s been able to work with artists like A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, 21 Savage, Lil Durk, Lil Uzi Vert, and many more. NBA Youngboy has been turning heads in hip-hop and his non-stop work flow just goes to show he’s on a mission to prove he’s a force to be reckoned with. His name “Never Broke Again” is more than just a title, it’s a lifestyle and he carries this principle with him in his music by aiming to outdo himself every time he records. The young rapper’s story is very compelling and his music is a testament of his survival. I look forward to see how he’ll top his career this time next year.
Check out his latest mixtape, Ain’t Too Long, below.