GET FAMILIAR: Yung Breeze

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I often say that interviews here are “long overdue” — man, seldom has that ever been so true. Yung Breeze has been a force of nature here for years now, but 2018 has seen him making careful, long-term career moves…most especially, the So.802 Records machine and his upcoming solo debut, Sofia Grace.

Breeze is a seasoned operator with a tidal wave of new material on the way, and we had a lot to talk about, so let’s get to it. All will be explained.

VTHH: Do you feel like your whole career so far has been leading up to the album you're working on right now?

VTHH: Absolutely. Everything in my career good or bad, shows, mixtapes, singles, features, etc., showed me what and what not to do with the album, in the process of making the album, what songs will hit, what songs showcase the most multi market skills. And to be able to reminisce on certain things, events and songs that lead me to think, "maybe I should start my own original body of work," makes it so much more fun and easier to do.

VTHH: Were you aware of other local artists in your area when you were starting out?

Yung Breeze: I started off knowing artists like March Davis, f/k/a Neffy, and lived in the same town as Eyedos for years. I didn't start to get put on to other artists until I started taking it more serious, then I started hearing about some of the heavy hitters like Causin Effect, Raw Deff, XP, S.I.N.siZZle, Learic, Rajnii, Bar None The Best, and many more I know I am forgetting.

VTHH: How did the Street Religion team come together?

Yung Breeze: Big shout out my Brother Samuel Martin, AKA GQ. I was always into rapping and making music, especially the recording and quality aspect of it. Me, GQ, my bro Trugame N.O, my boy RG, who is from Massachusetts, and my bro Zeus, who all do music there together, we put out a small compilation of work that we called the "Cereal & Milk" Series. The name Street Religion and the slogan "Grab A Gun & Pray" has a huge meaning to it deeper than what it looks like, and after playing around with the name in songs, realizing this was bigger than just a name, it was becoming a whole Coalition, and a household name around my area of southern VT (Brattleboro), I noticed I can do more with it.

RG is still doing a lot of music and visuals on his own path right now, Zeus i haven't heard from, I'm still in clear contact with GQ And Trugame N.O, but as far as artists in the group are concerned, the people who represent the brand and label Street Religion consists of Jun Fargo, and Raw Deff. And that falls under the whole So.802 umbrella with Causin Effect & Selfish Presley, which not only helps with SR, but creates a whole machine to work with, and create with each other.

VTHH: What kind of goals does the So.802 team have for 2019?

Yung Breeze: The Coalition - Causin Effect x Raw Deff x Yung Breeze. A lot of crazy singles and hopefully a project with all of us on it. I'm hoping to by the beginning to mid 2019, Causin Effect will have their second project ready to record so I can do all the engineering and mastering behind it, my album Sofia Grace will be done and ready, Selfish Presley will have a whole project out, Raw Deff and Self will be done with The Others 2. And Jun Fargo, who is the harmony glue to all this, should have his project Here & Now 3 finished and ready to go. I think our all around goal though is to get a bit more visual with things, hence why "BAD COOL AID" was created.

VTHH: Looking back, do you feel like there was a turning point in your catalog where everything came together for you?

Yung Breeze: For the most part, everything from when I started doing music even for fun, to taking it serious now, has been consistent,  and as far as my craft, it's been only getting better.  But when I started the Golden Era mixtapes and the "body of work" feeling where every song was able to be played with no skipping, that was when I'm like OK, I can go all in and actually let my creative control take over. And it's honestly got to the point I couldn't tell you how many original songs, remixes, or features I've done. The list is far too long.

VTHH: "Do It For My City" is flames. What was the process like when that came together? Did you guys feel like you'd nailed something special?

Yung Breeze: THE DAY BEFORE, I had met up with Gringo Montega (FKA Vazy) at a club in Keene NH, he was celebrating just getting married to his wife. That night he had told me that him and Jibba “The Gent” had just gotten a studio up and running and that I should pop out to record that next day, which was music to my ears because I have never really had one of those in the studio full fledged no home set up situations. I pulled up the next day, Gringo was in the process of making the beat and I found something that allowed me to do something semi multi market and not keep it just gritty or boom bap, but to expand the beat a bit more.

Everything up to that point was just organic, I got there and laid out my hook and verse that same day, Vazy continued to build around the beat to the sound of the song, and within a day or two, I came back to realize that Jibba blessed the track and it was going to be on Jibba’s album, which then made me feel like I caught the eye of someone who thinks of me as a great addition to their album. Song is super dope and super timeless.

VTHH: Will you revisit the classic boom bap x bars recipe of the Golden Era 3 mixtape anytime soon?

Yung Breeze: The bar heavy east coast feel is the music that I am most comfortable doing, so of course I plan on doing that with a mixtape I'm working on called Election Day 2, which is a follow up to the first Election Day tape. Doing Golden Era 4 is a must, I have so much fun with those tapes, especially when I can explore new bar patterns and ways to tweak my flow. And now that I have most of the multi-market tracks done for the Sofia Grace LP coming soon, I can incorporate the east coast flow in the second half of the album recording process, and will be in the album a lot more dominant than the multi-market music.

VTHH: Is your focus on versatility about challenging yourself as an artist, or is it more of a business strategy? Both?

Yung Breeze: I love music whole-heartedly. Everything about it. Anything that I've ever did with this music to step my game up, or anybody in So802’s game up, was solely for the culture and bettering myself and the VT hip hop community as artists. I noticed that with the versatility, it goes a very long way and I can create a business strategy out of it, but I tend to want to focus more on the making music and having fun part, and letting all of that come, too.

I did a lot of free features and shows before I started charging for it. And the reason why I charge now would be the same reason anyone would charge, but with me it's always been culture first. And I take pride in the multi market artist, versatility aspect, I really love music so anything I can do outside of the realm and the box I'm gonna do.

Justin Boland