I’m from the ‘hood, stupid. What type of facts are those? If you grew up with holes in your Zapatoes, you’d celebrate the minute you was having dough—Jay Z “99 Problems.”
It’s always a celebration when CMG rapper Blac Youngta touches the town. Whether the South Memphis native is unapologetically flexing stacks of money on Instagram, gleefully clicking Ben Franks on his money machine during interviews, or telling an Atlanta news reporter that he’s upset with being wrongly apprehended at an Atlanta Wells Fargo — the 25-year old’s comical charisma is gaudy, but magnetic.
Here’s a very simple and common question about Blac’s seemingly spur of the moment attitude: “is he for real?” His consistent flow of videos where he is jesting and showing off wads of cash for the camera have created a very visible image of the rapper. If he was faking it for the camera, that wouldn’t be gangsta’ at all. But being that he was initiated into Yo Gotti’s CMG family, it’s seriously doubtful that Blac reps a false persona for the camera. Over the years, CMG’s street status has been solid, but if you need more proof, just watch this video where Gotti introduces his hustlin’ momma.
Blac’s lifestyle may be extravagant to most, but he rose from the dilapidated McMillan Street — notorious for being crime-ridden — in South Memphis. Now, he talks about having millions in the bank with a happier aura than Richie Rich.
“Man, it feels good waking up with all that money in my account,” Blac said to VIBE shortly after we hopped on the horn. “Sometimes I just call my accountant just to hear how much money I got. I’m about to buy my Grandmomma’ a house. She don’t want to move though.”
In order to understand Blac’s bubbly ebullience, you’d have to digest the suffocating socioeconomic upbringing that hovered over his life before linking with Yo Gotti. The rapper born Sam Benson had to shoulder grown man responsibilities before he turned 10-years old. In midst of the manchild manning up, he dealt with death, drugs, jails and suicidal thoughts.
“I think I’m the strongest person in the world,” says Blac. “Honestly man, picture yourself being young, working in the corner store, working for food.”
As a rollicking adolescent, Blac secured a job — on the strength of his grandfather — at a local grocery store. However, Grandmomma Benson’s paltry-social security checks matched with Grandpa Bension’s extra cash from cutting grass wasn’t enough to make ends meet to feed Blac and his younger brother, who often went hungry.
“When I first started working I was like 7-years old. And I wasn’t working for money then. My nigga, I was working for food, mutherf*cker gave me ten dollars a week. I was stocking drinks, breaking boxes down on the side of the store. All that.”
Putting in long hours for food, and a meager wage wasn’t enough for Blac to escape the stifling anger that came with his hunger pains. As a child when he witnessed his loved-ones knee deep in the struggle, he quickly found his own survival skills to live by any means necessary.
“My little brothers would come to my job and check on me, and I’d be like ‘what you doing, boy?’ When they would say ‘I’m hungry.,’ I would call the store I was working at with a fake order for some burgers and sh*t when it was getting ready to be closing time. First thing they would say when no one came to pick up the food, ‘you want to take these leftovers home?’ They knew we didn’t have food at the house.’
However, after getting caught — on several occasions — for stealing food from his job, Blac was fired. “I’d stole food from Mr. Jones before, but after about a week or two he’d always let me come back. But that last time, it was over with.”
As the unfortunate script goes, Blac quickly learned how to swap dope for dollars. Once the impressionable young man lost his virginity to the drug game, working a 9-5 was a wrap. Blac’s life consisted of narcotic sales, street beefs and sentences — incarceration that is.
“I went to jail for dope charges, gun charges, lot of sh*t. The longest I did was probably like a year. I never did no real time. I was slangin’ dope so a nigga made bond. I went to HTC. It was grown folks in there. They had people in there that killed a lot of little kids, you know how people be shooting up schools and shit!”
As it turned out, Blac’s time behind the G-wall was a blessing in disguise. Jail is where the D-boy turned rapper, whose first rap was over Destiny Child’s “Bills, Bills, Bills,” decided to go full throttle with hip-hop.
“I’ve been rapping my whole life. When I was young I had went to jail for a little minute. And so when I come home I was like, ‘Man, I finna start this rap sh*t.”
Upon his release from jail, Blac hit the grown running. As a representative for the underdogs, he quicklty hit the studio to emerge with his debut Fast Brick mixtape. Later adding the second and third installments of Fast Brick put him on the Memphis hip-hop scene.
Also, it was around this time the “I Swear To God” rapper begin hosting block parties for the youth in honor of his fallen comrade King Craddy, who was murdered. But it was the death of Blac’s brother that would have the most impact on his life and admitted suicidal thoughts, which he’s hesitant to talk about.
“I don’t want to get too deep on it. But my little brother had passed. And, I thought about doing it,” says Blac with honesty while talking about suicide. “I’ll keep it one hundred. My little brother wasn’t in the streets, period, and he was dead. I was in the streets, period. So I felt like I should’ve been dead.”
“I put my life on the line for him to grow up and go to the military. I did so much sh*t. Stole out stores, stole clothes from people, all type of things for my little brother to live. [For] a nigga to kill him and he ain’t never did shit. [That] was touching me. So yes, I thought about doing it. But I had my kids to live for — that’s all I’m talk about on that. I don’t like talking about it. I never really spoke on that sh*t.”
Bouncing back from his brother’s death, Blac got back to making music. And not long after, he struck with a now local classic titled “Heavy.” Then, inked a deal with Gotti’s CMG Records while sitting on a Jet.
“Man, that was the happiest day in my life,” says Blac about the moment he signed with Yo Gotti. “I’ve been wanting a deal my whole life. I always wanted this, man. I always felt like once I get to this point that I would give this rap thing my all.”
So you see, Blac Youngsta has been through a lot. The song “One Bedroom House,” on his I Swear To God mixtape, where raps about sleeping on the floor, and taking care of his little brothers, is 100% true. And yes, Blac jokes a lot, and he is always happy, but it’s because of everything that he has overcome.
“I’ve done so much, so I feel the words,” says Blac after admitting he waves guns around in the vocal booth. “I damn near be crying. I be in the moment. When I was recording “Shoot Me,” a nigga couldn’t look at me while I was recording that song. I’d tell you not to look at me. I was dead serious. I had the Mac in the booth. When I be rapping some gangsta’ shit, I be in the booth with the gun in my hand. If I’m talking about money — I got to have money in the booth. I can’t talk about it if I ain’t feeling it.”
The Youngsta may to be real for some, but his mission doesn’t incorporate people who doubt him. Blac has his eyes set on touching the entertainment industry in every way that he can.
“I never wanted to be like an one realm nigga. That’s why I entertain. I like to entertain niggas,” says Blac with confidence. I’m in this shit for movies… and soundtracks to movies. I want everything. And I want to make people laugh. But also tell my side of the story.”