young-chop-still-artwork young-chop-still-artwork

Interview: Young Chop Discusses His New Album, Industry Fakes, Making Chief Keef Redo Verses

It’s no secret that the youth of Chicago has a violent reputation. Granted, the city is ridden with an aggressive gang culture. But Chi-town's influence on the thriving music culture far surpasses the city’s gritty streets. For decades, Chicago has churned out musical icons. The Windy City introduced the world to well-recognized musicians such as Curtis Mayfield, Herbie Hancock, Sam Cooke, Common, Lupe Fiasco, R. Kelly, Kanye West, to name a few.

Following in the footsteps of his musical forefathers is twenty-year-old producer Tyree Pittman, who goes by the name of Young Chop. Chop began crafting beats on his mother's computer when he was eleven-years-old. “Soon as I get out of school I’d go straight to the computer. In my house, we had one computer and it was supposed to be for everybody,” Chop tells VIBE. “Everybody was mad as fuck ‘cause I was always on the computer. But, I didn’t give a fuck. I knew it was gon’ pay off one day.”

And, hogging Ma Duke’s computer has definitely filled Chop’s bank account with Dead Presidents and helped his family. He's become the main ingredient behind the soundtrack to Chi-City’s rising stars. His signature gun-clapping 808s and futuristic synths provided backdrops for guys like Chief Keef, Lil Durk, Fredo Santana and more. But, it was Chop’s menacing production on Chief Keef’s 2012's cut “I Don’t Like,” featuring Lil Reese that put Chop and his fellow comrades in with the big dogs.

Since then, the young beatsmith has chopped up tracks for hip-hop heavyweights such as Kanye West, Pusha T, Juicy J, Big Sean, Puff Daddy and Wiz Khalifa, to name a few. But, this shouldn’t come a surprise, Chop is only doing what Chicago has taught him to do — add something fresh and relevant to the culture.

A intimidating looking dude to some—Chop walked into VIBEe’s office rocking an all-black hoodie that reads “Chop Squad,” the name of his production company. The Southside Chicago native opened up about his latest album titled Still, jack boys attempting stick him for his paper, what he purchased with his first big check, 50 Cent, why he was kicked out of school, community service and much, much more.

VIBE: So, lets get into this album. What are your favorite joints on there?
Young Chop: My favorite song is “Valley” with Keef. And, “Never Gonna Change,” with Johnny May Cash. “I Ain’t Fucking With Them” with Ty Dolla $ign.

Why are those special?
Those are real songs. “Valley” is like we in L.A., we in the Valley fucking with bitches and smoking. It’s just real shit. And, “Never Gonna Change” is still like the same shit we go through in Chicago with murders and shit. But, it tells a whole story in that song, you got to listen to it.

Have you ever had to tell someone that they’re verse was wack over one of your beats?
You damn right. I tell [Chief] Keef that all of the time. And he redo it [laughs].

But, that’s your man. Have you had to tell someone outside of your click?
Nah, but I should. I’m probably about to start doing that shit though.

What’s the craziest reaction you’ve gotten out of Keef after telling him that?
He be like, ‘Man, why don’t you like it? This shit go crazy.’ Like when he do some outrageous as shit. ‘I be like, ‘Hell, no. You got to delete that shit.’ [Laughs]

Chief Keef has been making beats as of late. Did you influence him to put the production hat on?
Yea, I influenced him. I showed him some shit. He just got to stick to that shit. What’s crazy though is that he learned keys and shit. He actually co-produced “Valley.”

When was the last time spoke with him?
A couple days ago.

He was dropped from his deal with Interscope. So where’s he at mentally?
He good. He ready to just drop. He was like, “Chop, you got to come to L.A. You got to show me this shit. We got to do this shit.’ I’m go out there to fuck with him.

You’ve produced a lot of tracks for some big name artists. But, what’s your favorite local song that you’ve produced?
This song I got with Spenzo called “Wife Er.” That’s my boy. He signed to Atlantic. He had a banger out and mutherfuckers slept on it though. Chicago picked it him up on that shit though.

To the naked eye, it seems like you came out of nowhere. But, that’s not the case. Take us through your grind.
Do you really want to know?

Yes, we do.
Traveling with a P.C., not a laptop. When I got a laptop it was like Heaven on Earth. I had a damn P.C. with the big ass tower and monitor and a beat machine. I had the whole computer with me everyday in a suitcase. I had one KRK speaker. I was going to [dudes] houses recording them and everything. I was grinding for a long time.

When did you finally get a laptop?
When I seen that check off "I Don’t like." I was like 'Shit. Got-damn. We turned the fuck up.’ That was a big ass check.

You purchased a laptop and what else?
I went to go buy me some Yamahas, Mac computers, Pro Tools. I just went crazy on Mac shit cause I wanted that shit. And, I gave my mom her first big check.

How much were those checks?
I can’t tell you that. That’s secret. I don’t want nobody after me.

Has anyone tried you since you've been cashing in?
You damn right. They ain’t try me no more. And, they know who I’m talking about. We ain’t even going say nothing, mutherfucker.

Ok. That’s enough of that. But, you see checks like the one from "Don't Like" often now?
Yes, I’ve made double that. That check was littler than some shit I’ve got previously.

During your grind was there ever a time where you felt like it wouldn’t work?
Nah, not really. I just kept doing me. I wasn’t thinking like, ‘Damn, I feel like this shit ain’t working out. Niggas ain’t fucking with me.’ I ain’t never been that type of person to just worry about another nigga thinking about me.

What made you start taking this seriously?
I was just always into music. But, I was like, 'Fuck it let me do this shit.' My cousin gave me the program. I learned how to get the sounds out right. But when I turned fourteen, when I went to high school is when I really got focused on that shit.

Since being in the industry. Has anything surprised you?
The phoniness in this shit. Niggas can fucking smile in your face, and, then when you text a nigga the next day, niggas don’t respond. And, then when you ask a nigga to jump on this shit, ‘cause I’d already did shit for you previously. So, I’m expecting you to do the same for me. That really just got me on some fuck everything shit.

Who are some artists that have put you on game?
50 [Cent] a smart [dude]. He sat down with us and gave us game. I’m keeping it in my head for when it’s time for me to expose the shit. N***s be thinking 50 a bad person. But really he not. He was telling me shit. And I was like, ‘Damn he right. ‘Cause I did just see this shit. Dude just did this.'

I know you look up the Pharrell, have you met him yet?
Hell no. He hadn’t hit me up yet. Pharrell can you just come down and fuck with the kid just one time? And, we can go crazy.

Why do you like him so much?
He’s just a fucking genius. The “Happy” song, listen to that shit. That shit was just different to me. I like all that bungalooo shit he be doing. All that crazy shit. I don’t know why, but he just raw.

Have any other producers hit you up to work on something collectively?
What’s crazy is that Jazze Pha hit me on Instagram the other day saying lets work on something. That shit shocked me.

Is there anybody else outside of Chicago that you’ve been working with lately? Your album was stacked with mostly Chicago artists.
I was just recently in the studio with A$AP Ferg. That nigga got some crazy shit. He made me comfortable enough to make me play my crazy beats. He was like, ‘Bro, I ain’t know you can make that type of shit. He was like, ‘You didn’t play that these for Rocky, did you?’

Did you work with Rocky recently?
I did. I got a record with Rocky. I don’t know if he put it out or not.

Were you in the studio with him?

What was that like?
Actually, he real down-to-earth. All of A$AP, it’s like they from Chicago to me. They regular hood n****. They one-hundred and they stick to their word. A$AP Rocky did a verse for Keef and that was off of just me hitting him up like, ‘Yo, Keef need the verse for this.’ And, he was like, ‘I got you. They ain’t even got to pay for it.’ That was 100 to me.

How do you feel about Bobby Shmurda having that "Drill" sound?
I fuck with Bobby Shmurda. Rowdy Rebel, he a real n***.

So, y’all already hooked up?
Yep, they flew me out the L.A. to work with Rowdy Rebel.

Who’s the craziest person that hit you up?
Nobody. I just been cooling. I haven’t been in no space where people can do that. But, motherfuckers be like, ‘It’s so hard to get in contact with you.” I’m like, ‘No, it’s not. Just hit me up on Twitter or something.’

Is there any chance we’d ever get album with you, Keef, Durk, Fredo and Reese?
What’s so crazy, I’ve been thinking about it. That’s possible. Mater of fact. Since you said that I’m gon’ do it. Remember I said that.

Tell us something that we don’t know about you?
I like to do kiddie shit like go [ride go-carts] because I never did that as a kid. My mom never had no money for that. So, I just did the shit that I wanted to do as a kid.
About two months ago I crashed into a pole too. They had to hurry-up and get me out that shit (laugher).

Anything else?
I give back too. A lot of people don’t know that. Last year I did the turkey drivein Chicago. I give back to the kids for Christmas. I remember last year, I drove pass a church and it was a Dollar Store right there. I went in there and boughtt all the toys and asked them can I use their shopping cart so I can ride this shit down there to the church. They didn’t know who I was was until my momma was like… you know how mommas be. But, that shit makes me feel good though. I was just like they need this shit. Cause I ain’t never had no shit like that growing up.

Harold’s Chicken or Roscoe’s?
Harold’s Chicken. That’s some Chicago shit. But, I fuck with Roscoe’s though. I just had some damn Harold’s too.

Stream Young Chop's Still album here.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Nick Rice

25 Hip-Hop Albums By Bomb Womxn Of 2018

The female voice in hip-hop has always been present whether we've noticed it or not. The late Sylvia Robinson birthed the hip-hop music industry with the formation of Sugar Hill Records (and fostering "Rapper's Delight"), Roxanne Shante's 55 lyrical responses to fellow rappers were the first diss tracks and Missy Elliott's bold and striking music and visuals inspired men and women in the game to step outside of their comfort zones.

These pillars and many more have allowed the next generation of emcees to be unapologetically brash, truthful and confident in their music. Cardi B's Invasion of Privacy and Nicki Minaj's Queen might've been the most mainstream albums by womxn in rap this year, but there was a long list of creatives who brought the noise like Rico Nasty, Tierra Whack, Noname and Bbymutha. Blame laziness or the heavy onslaught of music hitting streaming sites this year, but many of the artists on this list have hibernated under the radar for far too long.

VIBE decided to switch things up but also highlighting rap albums by womxn who came strong in their respectively debut albums, mixtapes, EPs. We also had to give props to those who dropped standout singles, leaving us wanting more.

READ MORE: 15 R&B Songs We Obsessed Over Most In 2018

Continue Reading
VIBE / Nick Rice

10 Most Important Hip-Hop Artists Of 2018

We’ve reached another end to an eventful year in hip-hop. From rap beefs to new music releases and milestones, 2018 has been forged in the history books as a year to remember. But more important than the events that happened over the span of 12 months are the people who made them happen.

While fans received a large dose of music from our favorite artists and celebrated some of the most iconic album anniversaries, there are a few names that stood out as the culture pushers, sh*t starters, and all-around most significant artists of the year.

For your enjoyment, VIBE compiled a list of the top 10 most important hip-hop artists of 2018 based on a series of qualifications: 1) public actions - good, bad, and ugly; 2) music releases; 3) philanthropic/humanitarian work; and 4) trending moments.

Be clear: This list isn’t about the most influential, the most talented, who had the best music or tours. While we are commemorating artists for the work they’ve contributed to this year’s music cycle, we’re looking beyond that and evaluating how these particular artists have shaped conversations and pushed hip-hop culture forward.

READ MORE: 15 R&B Songs We Obsessed Over Most In 2018

Continue Reading
Stacy-Ann Ellis

NEXT: Intent On Impact, Kiana Lede Is Ready To Leave Her Mark

After learning The Alphabet Song as a little girl, Kiana Lede would always “get in trouble” for singing during class. “My mom was like, ‘why can't you focus?’” she laughs while reminiscing on her career’s formative years. “I was like, ‘I don’t know! Songs are just playing in my head all the time!’”

Whilst sitting in a shoebox-sized room at Midtown Manhattan’s Moxy Hotel on a humid September day, the now- 21-year-old Arizona-bred R&B songbird, actress and pianist speculates that she “may have had ADD.” However, she settles down after taking off her white cowboy boots and flops down on the ivory-clothed bed, demonstrating that her fiery Aries energy can be contained. Cool as a cucumber, Lede shuffles between chewing on banana candies and blowing smoke rings after taking drags from a pen, all while musing about her journey to becoming a Republic Records signee.

“I just grew up singing and doing musical theater, and reading a lot of books, and playing piano way too much in my room by myself,” she says, pushing her big, curly brown hair out of her face. Her expressive green eyes widen as she grins. “It was my thing. Nobody in my family does music, just me.”

After winning Kidz Bop’s 2011 KIDZ Star USA talent contest at 14 (which her mother secretly entered her into), Lede was signed to RCA Records. She was released from her contract and dropped from the label three years later. However, thanks to guidance and friendship from the Grammy-winning production duo Rice N’ Peas, (who’ve worked with G-Eazy, Trevor Jackson, and Bazzi), she released covers of songs such as Drake’s “Hotline Bling” while working to get her groove back. The latter rendition resulted in Republic Record’s Chairman and CEO Monte Lipman flying her out and signing her to his label.

“I got a second chance, which a lot of people don't get,” she reveals. “So I'm really happy that that all happened. I wouldn't be here right now in this room if that didn't happen.”

Thanks to the new opportunity she was given, Lede’s sound has evolved into something she’s proud of—equal parts soul, R&B and bohemian. As evidenced by the aforementioned ensemble, glimmers of each aesthetic can be found when observing her personal style as well. She released her seven-song EP Selfless in July, which features the bedroom-ready “Show Love” and “Fairplay,” which manages to fit in the mainstream R&B vein while also showcasing her goosebump-inducing vocals. The remix of the latter features MC A$AP Ferg. What pleases her most is that it not only garnered a favorable response from fans, but that those listeners found it so relatable.

“As an artist, it's really nerve-wracking for someone who writes about such personal things all the time,” she says. “Just the fact that it is my story… It's good to know that other people know that there's somebody on their side, and they're not the only ones going through it. A lot of people obviously feel this way, and have been through this same thing that I've been through. So I think that's cool.”

Although she moved to various places as a Navy serviceman’s daughter, Lede claims Phoenix as home. This means she hails from the same stomping grounds as rockers Alice Cooper, Stevie Nicks and the late Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. However, growing up in a mixed race household gave way to tons of sonic exploration outside of the rock-heavy scene.

“My dad's black, and both of my parents are from the East Coast,” she says of her musical and ethnic upbringing (she’s black, Latina and Native American). “[My parents] listened to a lot of R&B. My mom listened to a lot of SWV, TLC, Boyz II Men. I didn't realize I knew the songs until I got older. I played a charity show with T-Boz, and I was like 'why do I know these songs?'” Lede also says her father was a fan of neo-soul and gangsta rap, but she personally believes the early-2000s was the best time for music.

“[That era] influences a lot of my music subconsciously, and also, singer-songwriter stuff,” she continues. “I listen to a lot of early-2000s music because I played piano most of my life. I listened to Sara Bareilles, John Mayer.”

An open book, Lede details some of her struggles with anxiety and depression with the utmost candor. After being dropped from RCA, her trust in people diminished, and she experienced long bouts of depression after being sexually assaulted by someone in the industry. The track that she feels most deeply about is “One Of Them Days,” which tackles these issues head-on.

“When I'm anxious and depressed, it's really hard to be happy,” Lede says. “Most of the time, I can do it, but there are just some days where I literally can't separate the anxiety, and I can't tell anybody why, because I don't really know why myself… I was feeling very odd that day, didn't even know if I could write a song. Hue [Strother], the guy who I wrote the song with, he was like 'I totally get you. Lots of people go through this.’’’

As we’ve observed in headlines recently, mental health and being honest about life’s trickier situations can help someone going through the same thing, and Lede hopes her music provides encouragement to those who are struggling. As for how she’s learning to push through her mental health roadblocks, she meditates, runs, and is an advocate for therapy, especially in Trump’s America, where harrowing news reports dominate the cycle.

Another hallmark of Kiana Lede’s personality is her bleeding heart for others. She cites women of color, sexual assault victims and the homeless youth specifically as individuals she feels most responsible to help, since she is personally connected to all three. While she’s aiming to create a project that helps homeless youth specifically, she’s working hard this holiday season to ensure that they have a place to stay “at least for the night” after horrific wildfires displaced many individuals in California.

“My passion is really people. Music is just a way that I can get to helping people,” she says with a grin. “Helping people emotionally and physically are both very important. I never want to stop helping people. I feel if other people can respect me, and I can respect myself, then I'll be happy. Happiness is all that we strive for.”

Recently, Lede played her first headlining solo show, a one-night event at The Mint in Los Angeles. While she was thrilled to see that the show sold-out, she was even happier to see the faces of her audience members, who she said ‘looked like [her].’ “Mixed girls, brown girls, black girls, gay boys,” she explains over-the-phone. Even though she wasn’t in person to discuss her latest huge accomplishment, you could hear the pride and joy through her voice.

As for the future of her career, she’s looking forward to more acting roles. You may recognize her from the first season of MTV’s Scream, and after her recent Netflix series All About The Washingtons with legendary MC Rev Run was cancelled, she has been “reading for auditions” and is “negotiating” for a role in a film set to shoot in NYC. While her time with the Run-DMC frontman was brief, she says he taught her about the importance of “not compromising your art for money.”

What Kiana Lede is most excited about, of course, is making music. She hopes to work on a new EP and then release an album after that. The ultimate goal is to fully realize the dreams in her personal and professional life, and she assures she’s just getting started.

“I want to be able to look back on my career and think 'man, I really poured my heart into this music, and made music that mattered, and made music that made people feel a certain way, whether it's bad, good, sad, anxious, whatever it may be.’”

READ MORE: NEXT: H.E.R. Is The Future Of R&B (And Then Some) In Plain Sight

Continue Reading

Top Stories