When you’re a rising star, what’s the best way to garner attention? If you answered: Get Future’s attention, you’re on the money. But what does it take to get Future’s attention in 2020, when everyone is trying to sound like Future and pop off?
For starters, it doesn’t hurt to have your own sound. It also doesn’t hurt to sound as if rapping is all or nothing. It certainly didn’t hurt Herion Young, an artist handpicked by Future to feature on the 1800 Seconds Vol. 2 compilation album.
At 29, Herion’s greatest appeal is his snarl. The North Memphis, Tennessee native attacks the beat. His raps are brisk and brusk. His tone is menacing. We believe him and his menace immediately, how he pounces at the instrumental. Pairing with his undeniable cadence and broody vocal tone is Herion Young’s punchy pen game. Punchlines come naturally to the rapper, bringing us back to the days of old, where the dozens ruled. His explosive energy makes solo track “Hit Like Mike” a clear standout on the album.
Our conversation, lightly edited for content and clarity, follows below:
DJBooth: When did 1800 reach out to you initially?
[1800 Tequila] reached out to my team a couple of months ago. My team got back to me and let me know what was up. I was all for it.
Was it surreal?
I didn’t know any details. I didn’t know what was supposed to happen or how it’s supposed to go. I knew it was real when they hooked the mics up to my pants. I knew it was real when I [saw] the camera crew. A lot of [it] shocked me.
Tell me about “Hit Like Mike.“ How would you define the energy you bring to the album?
“Hit Like Mike“ was produced by Nick [Papamitrou], he produced the whole 1800 album. Once you meet Nick and let him hear a sample of your music, Nick gonna come with a beat that fits you. “Hit Like Mike“ was the last song I did on the first night I was there. I was in the studio vibing; I didn’t know it would do what it [did].
“Hit Like Mike” is a proud song, a song about success. It’s talking about your chain and your jewelry, but it’s also talking about the struggle where you coming from. I paid a lot of dues to get where I’m at to live this life—to have my chain hit like Mike.
What makes “Hit Like Mike“ a song that can hook fans?
You can’t listen to the song and sit still, you gotta move your head. Once I make your head move, I’m gonna catch your ear. Once you hear what I’m saying, I got ya. It’s that easy. And all my music is based on real-life activities, real-life situations. I don’t fairy-tale rap.
How do you plan on using this opportunity to your advantage?
I didn’t know this was going to happen because I rap; I make music. Who would’ve guessed I’d be holding a bottle of 1800 Tequila [and] doing an album with them? Not me. You couldn’t tell anyone around me in a million years that’s what I’d be doing. So I’m going to use it to its full extent.