Atlanta seems to be the birthplace of burgeoning talent, and DC Young Fly is no exception. You can’t even call him a triple threat, because his skills and capabilities cannot be measured by a number. Not only can he entertain, host, tell jokes, songwrite, act, and rap, but he excels at all of them. Read more…
In between appearances on Wild ‘N Out and hosting early mornings on MTV’s TRL, real name John Whitfield still manages to find time in between to lock in the studio. Most recently, he unleashed his 10-track project titled Curb Music, a perfect blend of trap, bars, and real-life storytelling through the lyrics.
For those who don’t know, who is DC Young Fly?
Dc Young Fly is lil John John from Atlanta, Georgia’s own Zone 4: Adamsville, Martin Luther King. I’m a Bankhead-raised, Westside baby! That’s who I am.
I always hear of Zone 6, but never Zone 4.
Zone 6 is the Eastside, that’s big. Zone 4 is the Southwest side of ATL. Zone 1 is the real heart of Atlanta. Ain’t no other cities, ain’t no other counties, nothing.
How has Atlanta played a part into your life and your career?
It just taught me everything that I know. The humbleness, I got from my momma. When you come down to Atlanta, you get that southern hospitality. They be like, “Where you from?” I’m like “I’m from the south.” They be like, “You nice as hell!” I’m like, “I’m ain’t really that nice.” Atlanta played a big part of my life, that’s all I know.
How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
It’s good because you want to get the culture of what’s going on on the West Coast. You have to come over here to cross-brand yourself. You on the East Coast so much, you come over here and it’s a little different. Ya’ll move a little different. It’s a little bit more opportunities here that you probably wouldn’t get on the East Coast.
Where do you fit in the realm of hip-hop and R&B?
Just authenticity. Just bringing that realness back: that real soul feeling, that real Jodeci feeling, that 90’s R&B feeling. I feel like I’m bringing that back to what’s going on. Everybody has their certain music they listen to. We need someone to bridge that gap between the youth and the 90’s, and that’s what I’m here to do.
You recently dropped Curb Music. Talk about the creative process and how long it took you.
It didn’t really take long because I was in a zone. I felt like I had so much to say. When I did it – shout to my boy Cezbeats, who produced the project for me — it felt like I was still on my street shit. I had to talk to ‘em for a minute. I had so much going on at the time and I felt like I couldn’t say it, but I felt like Curb Music said a whole lot for me.
The intro on “2 Shots” states you have TRL in the morning. Can you talk about all your endeavors on the small screen and how you balance that with your rap career?
It’s more so everything has its ego. When I host, when I do music, when I do my stand-up, I have to be in a certain mindset. It’s balancing all those out, and making sure I fulfill the objective. I know people are like, “How is he doing it?” Yeah, it’s hard, but it’s entertainment. I choose to force myself and challenge myself to conquer the goals. I know for a fact I have to do TRL in the morning, and I just left the studio at 4am. I was just talking gangsta shit, now I have to go up there and be like, “Hey, how are you doing?” I just make sure I balance it all out and that I have the right mindset when I do it.
Is rap the main goal, or what is it?
I don’t really have a main goal, I’m just having fun right now. I’m having fun but I’m also dead serious. Everybody knows that the comedy and acting is at the forefront. Then you got the music, the stand-up, and the other stuff that’s behind it. It’s all one collective as a superstar.
For most people, one career is enough.
Yeah, who the hell said that? In this world, people think “you’re a singer, that’s all you can do.” Nah! T.I. act and rap. Is him rapping going to stop him from being a good actor? It’s like nah, you’re not going to put me up on one pedestal! I’m going to be up on whatever pedestal that God wants me to be on.
Being a comedian, is it hard for people to take you seriously?
More so… I’m an aura. The more real I am, they understand. I’m telling ya’ll, you can take me serious as a comedian and you can take me serious as rapper. If I have that aura about myself, they have no choice but to have the same respect that I have for it. If I play with it, ya’ll are going to play with it. If I’m not playing with it, ya’ll ain’t going to play with it. It’s the energy. Once you see how serious I am, you’re going to take it serious too.
You also have a record called “From The Ghetto” about the streets being real. Talk about your upbringing and how you changed your life for the better.
I’m from the ghetto, but when you from the ghetto, you tend to look at it as home. You don’t look at it as the ghetto. When I grew up, I didn’t realize how dangerous it was until I went somewhere and came back. I was like, “Damn! I’m from the ghetto for real, shit.” I grew up there, but I didn’t let it stop me. We all have a mindset on where we want to go. We all have goals. If you set your mindset on that and you pray, and you work hard for what you pray for, anything is possible.
How important is social media for your career?
Social media is very important. Because at the end of the day, we’re in a social media time zone. If you’re not on social media, you’re lost. You have to be a part of some social, this is just what’s going on right now. It played a big part, but I also used it to show that I have real talent. I had to explain on social media: anybody can be a social media star, anybody. But it takes a real star to be a star off social media.
I just realized I saw you open for Chris Brown on the Party Tour. You were fucking hilarious!
Oh, we lit! But see, it takes a lot to even get people to listen. For 20 minutes. We’re talking about no stand-up, no telling no jokes, this is music! I don’t like to cross-brand no jokes with music. Ya’ll came to hear this man sang and do his shit, so it’s only right that I top it off with the right energy to get ya’ll ready for the show.
Did you want to perform songs?
Not really. I’m waiting for the right time. Everything has its time and place. That night, I had another job I had to conquer, which was to host a concert. They were here to see a concert, not a comedian. I had to make sure that task was complete.
What’s your relationship with CB?
That’s the homie. Any time I come down here, I hit his manager up like “where he at?” His manager’s real cool. Every time he pull up to ATL, he’s like “where he at?” We pull up.
Do ya’ll have music?
We don’t have no music. Would I like to? Hell yeah! That’ll be a dream come true. Come on, CB! He’s the OG. Shout out to the GOAT.
What is your take on the music industry?
It’s very unique. It’s like alright… okay. Advice for whoever wants to come in and do what they do, do it. Don’t worry about nobody else. I don’t give a damn. Let them have their shit. I’m coming in and I’m finna to do me.
What are some goals you have for yourself as an artist?
I just want to write and see them plaques. I want to write for folks and see them plaques on the wall.
You want to song-write?
I want to song-write because I do the comedy shit so much, it’s so hard for me to try to put my 100% all into the music. When I do that, ya’ll are going to see it. I have 6 months to show ya’ll. I really have this time period right now. If I don’t do it, I’m going to lose it.
What did you do with your first check?
I put it up and bought my mama a Mercedes.
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
I wake up and pray. I pray a lot. Smoke me a blunt, get myself together, then work, work, work. All my friends, they think it’s a game. Like when I brought my friends with me on the road to LA, they slept more than I did. I’m like “look at ya’ll!” I’m in the car, I’m driving, ya’ll sleeping! Ya’ll thought it was a game?” They know that it’s nonstop.
How often are you out here?
When the money calls. [laughs]
3 things you need in the studio?
I don’t even like people in the studio with me. I tend to have my people in the studio, but I don’t get the same vibe as when I’m in there by myself. My creativeness is all over the room. If the energy and everybody talking and woopty woop, it’s knocking my creative thinking. So I like being by myself. Just weed, Lemon Halls, and great beats! Gotta have great beats.
Who are some producers?
My boy Pimpin from the Westside. Cezbeats, Mondo, Spaghetti J, Gwop, and Nard & B. We working. I’m just trying to get a solidified sound. Having all those different beatmakers is weird. I need that one sound, and we’re going to make it work.
Favorite song to perform in a set?
What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
They just start crying. I like the ones that cry, the ones that you know that you touched. You made an impact on their life.
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
I know you said CB, but another other dream collabs?
Eminem and T.I.
Please tell me you fuck with Kamikaze, people be talking shit.
I haven’t sat down with it yet. I’m an Eminem fan…
Me too. He’s the reason I fell in love with hip-hop.
The Eminem Show.
Me too! “I’m sorry mama!” [sings] That was the first CD that introduced me to hip-hop. Eminem is really the GOAT, for real. He’s white, but that’s really a n*gga though.