Yung Ralph Interview
|Label:||/MoneyMaker/Big Cat/Tommy Boy|
|Next Project:||Most Unexpected (Feb '08)|
|Website:||Yung Ralph's Website|
The difference between looking like money and having money is simple: you don’t need money to “look like money.”
If you find that explanation confusing, may we suggest you listen to one of Atlanta’s hottest new artists, Yung Ralph. Recently signed to Universal Republic, the Georgia-native is set to release his major label debut, “Most Unexpected,” this upcoming February.
In an exclusive interview with DJBooth’s DJ “Z,” Ralph steps inside the booth to talk about why he shouldn’t be judged by fellow down South artists, how his clothing selection has changed since being signed, and which aspect of the law he’d like to see changed.
Listen to the Interview
Yung Ralph Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on ya’ll? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is an artist from the dirty-dirty, who just recently inked a deal with Universal/Republic, because they thought he looked and smelled like money. Please welcome my man, Yung Ralph – how you doin’?
Yung Ralph: What it do, homie, how you doin’?
DJ Booth: I’m doin’ all right. Weather’s nice down there, I hear.
Yung Ralph: Yeah, man, it’s sunny out here. Just chillin’outside and just kickin’ it.
DJ Booth: I’d love to kick it outside, but it’s about to snow here in Chicago, so that’s why I’m on the phone with you.
Yung Ralph: You gotta have your fur on! [laughter]
DJ Booth: Yeah, the chinchilla, right? That’s what the real pimps wear. Let’s talk about your debut album, “Most Unexpected.” It’s set for release this upcoming February. What will this project do to defy everyone’s expectations, Ralph?
Yung Ralph: Well, this project’s gonna really shock the world, because everybody’s thinkin’, “Yung Ralph look like money.” When they think of the name, “Yung Ralph,” they ain’t thinkin’ about the label, they thinkin’ about, “look like money,” ‘cause that’s what got me branched off and doin’ what I’m doin’ now. But when they hear the album, it’s so classical – it relates to the world. It’s for everybody; I don’t just have rap music, I got R&B – I got everything in one album, and they didn’t expect that. That’s why, “Most Unexpected.”
DJ Booth: What most listeners fail to understand is that artists typically will rap or speak about material that they understand and is closest to their lives. In terms of your album’s content, are there going to be any songs that go against the stereotypical topics such as, hustling, money, and hood life, but are going to remain true to what you know, from your upbringing?
Yung Ralph: Yeah, I got a songs on there just like that. I got a song on there talkin’ about when I didn’t have anything, before I knew about the hustle, before I knew anything about rap, before I knew anything about getting some money. I got songs about real life, for the folks who don’t have money, the folks who tryin’ to get it, and the folks who already got it. So I got songs that fit that description, too.
DJ Booth: If a fan of hip hop music who lives outside of Atlanta hears that you released a song called, “Look Like Money,” and they say, “I don’t need to listen to this or buy this; I’ve heard it done by other Southern artists a million times,” what do you say to convince them otherwise?
Yung Ralph: I say you can’t judge a book by its cover. ‘Cause no matter what a person do, the next person always can do better or worse, but there’s always a chance, it’s fifty-fifty. If those people don’t wanna accept that, I just go about my business and I know one day – folks who didn’t expect me to do what I’m doin’ now and have a deal with Universal. Guess what? I got one, I kept grinding, so here’s what I do: I let them not [buy] the CD or keep sayin’ they don’t want to hear. But one day, my job is to make them like me, make them change their minds, when they get the album, “Most Unexpected,” make them say, “Oh, I should’ve got your album,” “Oh, he ain’t like we thought,” or “Oh, he ain’t just talkin’ about money, he ain’t just talkin’ about jewels, he ain’t just talkin’ about the girls,” you know what I’m saying?
DJ Booth: I rock a basic watch and a huge cubic zirconium rock in my left ear, so for all the fellas out there who wanna look and smell like money, Ralph, but can’t afford to, what advice can you give myself and everybody else?
Yung Ralph: Man, I ain’t always had money, I ain’t always had jewelry. I ain’t always had cars. I didn’t have money for my rent. Just ‘cause I got a deal I don’t feel like I’m different to no other person that don’t have no car, or don’t have no money or don’t have no clothes. Actually, I give back to folks who don’t, ‘cause I don’t want to be able to shine on nobody, or to say I got more. I wanted to give and I wanted to do something positive for my family, for my momma. That’s what I wanted to get a deal for – I didn’t for folks to look down on folks who don’t have it. And for folks who don’t have it, the only thing I can say is, don’t rush, don’t try to be like nobody else, be yourself no matter how less you got or how more you got. Be you!
DJ Booth: Do you think that an explanation like that could seem hypocritical, since the first single that really jump-started your career is called, “Look Like Money?”
Yung Ralph: Well, if I could kill that right now, just to show folks it ain’t about the money with me and I’m not just sayin’ that to have folks on my side, or to get extra fans, ‘cause, guess what? In the song it says, “Look, walk, talk, smell like money,” it doesn’t say, “I got money.” So, if you got on a white t-shirt and shoes, you lookin’ like money. Nobody knows what you got in your bank account. Nobody knows what you got in your wallet. Nobody can see through your pocket.
DJ Booth: Very true. Let’s talk about another song, “I Work Hard.” You open with the line, “I kick it with the OGs and listen to the oldies.” What oldies are in your MP3 player – what are you rockin’?
Yung Ralph: Me, I listen to stuff like Marvin Gaye, like “My my my, sure look good to me,” see I listen to that. I listen Gerald LeVert, and I love Mary J. That’s what I call oldies for my time.
DJ Booth: When skimming through your photos on your Myspace page, I noticed that you’re rockin’ an assortment of bright-colored shirts, and that’s usually a reflection of someone’s personality. So, how does your dress reflect your work as an MC?
Yung Ralph: I usually dress on the style of hood with the pants, but now I’m all grown about it. Instead of having ‘em hangin’ off my waist, I’m just a grown man presenting myself how I want folks to treat me. If I look nice, I want folks to treat me like that. If I go in somewhere lookin’ like I’m about my bizness, they’re gonna treat me like I’m about my bizness. If I go in there lookin’ like I’m gonna start some trouble, they’re gonna treat me like I’m startin’ trouble. You shouldn’t judge anybody by how they look, but that’s the world and that’s life, you know what I’m sayin’?
DJ Booth: Definitely. Image is everything. If I had to pick out one color from the assortment of colors I saw you dressed in, I would assume your favorite color is green. Am I correct?
Yung Ralph: I got all colors my favorite colors. I don’t even have favorite colors. Green represents money, and I’m trying to get it, that’s what I’m tryin’ to get, so when I see green I just think about I gotta get more, get my momma more. I gotta get more to help my daughters, I gotta get more to help my friend, I gotta get more to help myself most of all.
DJ Booth: We’re gonna have some fun now. Hypothetically, let’s say the government announces that Yung Ralph has been appointed to modify one law from our US Constitution. What piece of legislation do you change?
Yung Ralph: I’d say police. I don’t know which right, but I’d change the rights that the police have. Certain rights need to be changed, because some police think they’re not human, once they get a badge. They take the badge, and it’s their life, and they’re not thinkin’ that they still use the bathroom the same way I do, they still eat food the same way I do, they still get sick like I do, you know what I’m sayin’?
DJ Booth: I agree. I think that that’s definitely a legitimate piece of legislation that we should definitely get enacted. If I had a hookup with the government, I’d put you in touch with them. But I don’t, so that’s why this was just a question.
Yung Ralph: [laughter]
DJ Booth: Yung Ralph, let’s say we do another interview in a year, and it’s to discuss how 2008 went for you as an artist. If you sell a few million ring tones, and let’s say a quarter million copies of your album, will the year have gone as expected, or most unexpected for you?
Yung Ralph: I’d say both. ‘Cause my expectations are sky isthe limit, so I want to go double platinum, triple platinum, quadruple platinum. But if I was to sell a quarter million, I’d be happy for that and I’d thank God for that, ‘cause I’d have moved up a step. I have never sold an album, so if I sell that many I’d have prosper. I gotta take that little step and make it another whole step, so in 2009, guess what I’m gonna say, “Oh, I went double platinum this time.”
DJ Booth: If we’re gonna talk about steps, let’s talk about how you’re gonna get there. Between now and February, I’m sure you’re gonna be hard at work finishing up this album and recording other material – what other sources of information are there out there, whether it be mix tapes or your website, so your fans and my listeners can find out more about what you got goin’ on?
Yung Ralph: You can check me out at myspace.com/yungralphmoney, and I just finished up my DJ Screen mix tape, and a Raw Report DVD which we give away free. Me and DJ Khaled are doin’ us a mix tape, too, down there in Miami.
DJ Booth: I appreciate your time greatly. I wish you nothing but the best of luck with your debut album, “Most Unexpected,” droppin’ in February, and continued success.
Yung Ralph: Okay, thank you.