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).
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.