Yung L.A.

posted June 03, 2009 12:00:00 AM CDT | 25 comments

From the wild haircuts to his recent mixtape with Yung Dro, Black Boy Swag, White Boy Tags, Yung L.A. is determined to get your attention. At the same time, L.A. doesn’t make these moves just as a way to scream “look at me”—instead, he’s simply taking advantage of coming from a generation that grew up respecting the artists that were trying to do something a little different instead of just falling in line with the same old. Growing up in Atlanta, the young Leland saw artists like Kriss Kross and Da Brat carving their own lane and made them his influences.

When Yung Dro (usually clad in a pastel tennis sweater and khakis himself) saw Yung L.A. coming out of the hood in Abercrombie, he instantly took a liking to his style and rushed to get him on the Grand Hustle roster. They released the official mixtape in anticipation of Futuristic Leland, the full solo album due out this summer. Even this early in his career, L.A. is already continuing to evolve with that title alone, insisting that his government name will soon become the one in every household.

You’re gonna hear me say Leland more,” he says, looking towards the future. “At first I wasn’t gonna come up with that cause for a new artist, I think its too much. Now though, I’m transitioning so that people know—this is Leland.

The Early Days: "I was always just a fan of music in general coming up, but as far as me, I basically just rapped everywhere I went. I’d tell my family, tell my friends like 'Yo, I can rap.’ I loved Da Brat and I loved Kriss Kross records—they were basically the coolest ones out at the time. I felt like I was cool and I wanted to rap too."

Career Moves: "It was probably like three or four years ago when I was 18 or 19 that I really started working. I just got into and started taking it more seriously, putting out mixtapes, performing at open mics and clubs. I sold like 700 copies of my mixtape and saturated the neighborhood and that eventually got it to Yung Dro [click to read]."

Connecting With Grand Hustle: "I met Dro first and that was just from performing at venues in the city.  He got the CD and he liked what he heard so he went out looking for me. The first time he came out looking, he couldn’t find me because the apartments were so big. This was like the biggest complex in the hood so he was going around asking but nobody knew where I was at. The second time he came out there, he finally found me and told me he was feeling the mixtape and he was gonna try to help me get on Grand Hustle. It kinda just went from there. He came back in like two week and took me to meet the management staff. They were feeling my music so since then, it’s just been me and Grand Hustle."

Standing Out In The Crowd: "I already made my lane—I’m Futuristic Leland and Futuristic Leland has his own sound. What’s cool about Grand Hustle is we can take you so many different ways, from 8Ball & MJG, [click to read] to Killer Mike [click to read] to B.o.B. [click to read]—it’s self esteem music. I just keep being the same Leland that I have been to keep on Grand Hustle because that’s what got to me to Grand Hustle. As we go on to the deal with Interscope, I’m just continuing to be the same Leland because that’s what got me to Interscope. Everyone done said everything a hundred times, but I might say my words different than them, I might stress my sounds different. That’s what I try to with my rhymes, take what you might have already heard but put it in my language."

His “White Boy Tags:”
"When you see me, I’m gonna have on the labels that you don’t usually see. Abercrombie, American Eagle, True ReligionDro saw that and respected it because he’s come through the hood Polo'ed out. How we dress is like the suburban kids but we’re from the inner city. It’s like a whole movement up under me and it’s a million kids doing the same thing. When those young kids and the new generation start to come up, it won’t even seem strange because that’s just how they do."

Preparing The Album: "Right now I’m working with a lot of young producers, guys that are like18 years old and are names that you might not know about but that’s part of finding that futuristic sound. I’m really just looking for young professionals coming up that have their own sound—Polow Da Don, Jim Jonsin [click to read]—they really gave me a fresh sound. It’s about music right now, building the foundation and getting that as far as I can get. I think about a lot of other things [for the future] but it’s the music right now. I’m just trying to build my foundation since that’s what’ll let me do those other things in down the line, whether it’s film, fashion, producing or whatever else I want to do."

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