$tupid Young is here to put on for all the Asians. Hailing from the streets of Long Beach and changing his life for the better, the 26-year-old is ready to prove his place in the rap game once and for all. Coming up in and out of jail while staying loyal to his Asian Gangs family, real name Alex Pham brings that raw energy and authenticity with each line, lyric, and punchline. Read more…
Linking up with Mozzy on his standout single “Mando” is the perfect representation of all things West Coast hip-hop. The record also serves as the the intro track to his 2018 album One of One, which hails additional guest appearances from Philthy Rich, Skeme, and Lil Durk.
For those who don’t know, who is Stupid Young?
Just a young Asian, coming from the Eastside of Long Beach. From the streets, who got a story to tell. That’s it.
Where do you fit in the realm of hip-hop and R&B?
I fit with the rare, real, and authentic. What I mean by that is the people that ain’t selling their souls to get on, the people who wouldn’t be a rich clown. I’d rather be broke and real. If it takes me to be broke to just stay myself and be real, I’ll be alright to be with that. Instead of selling my soul and doing weird shit, I fit with those type of people.
You’re from Long Beach, how does that play into your life and career?
It just made me who I am. I went through all the obstacles as every young person going through poverty would.
How long have you been in LA?
Yeah, a couple weeks. I’ve been coming to LA but Long Beach is not that far. It’s like 30 minutes.
How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
It’s not that important to me. I could give a fuck about LA. I’m from Long Beach. I love Long Beach. It’s just I come to LA ‘cause I’m about to have my kid. I don’t want to have to watch my back while I have my kid and shit. But then LA is where all the shit happens: the studios, the music, everything. All the LA artists, this and that. Shit, I could have just stayed in Long Beach and travelled to LA, but I think it’s time for a change.
At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
When I started to get paid a little bit. When a lot of different people that were non-Asian were telling me you could do it — and you different, you special. I just started taking it and kind of putting it together.
Talk about your journey as an independent artist.
Independent, distributed through Empire. It’s cool. The hardest thing about this music shit coming from the same background as me — you got a kid on the way, you got homies from your neighborhood, you got family on both sides ‘cause your parents split — and the music shit is a lot to juggle. The hardest shit I found that I needed is balance. If it’s too much on one thing, than it’s gonna be all fucked up. The journey has been crazy.
Congrats on the kid! When is the baby coming?
November, this month. That’s when I’m gonna drop a project.
You talk about fatherhood in your music?
Nah, not too much. Probably when he here, but not right now.
You’re Cambodian right? What do your parents think?
I’m half Cambodian, half Vietnamese. They’re just telling me to keep going, keep doing it. ‘Cause they didn’t believe in me before, but now they do. I could say they’re proud.
Being that I have Asian parents, I don’t think they know what I do. Are they aware of of hip-hop really is?
Yeah, my parents are still young. They speak clear English. They are very well aware of hip-hop. When I was younger, my dad used to be playing Bone Thugs and shit, and I’d be in the back of his car. They aware.
They with the shits?
They with the shits. [laughs] Oh yeah, my dad is with the shits for real.
How has “Mando” with Mozzy changed your career?
Shit, it’s just been love from the beginning. When we met and shit, we just vibed off the top. ‘Cause he was already familiar with my neighborhood and my gang, and then we was familiar with his. He had history with us already besides the music shit, so it was just straight authentic from the jump. He’s a good dude though. He’s one of the realest people I’ve met in this industry, and I’ve done met a gang of people.
I saw your post that said you’re unlike this other rappers. What sets you apart from these other street rappers?
Number 1, I’m Asian. It’s not fake. It’s not a facade. There’s really ni**as that’s really done died for this shit, and got locked up. A lot of street rappers got the same shit in common. They go through the same obstacles. That’s why I’m saying they need that balance too as much as I need. They have kids, they got baby mommas, they got fucking hood politics, and this and that. It’s probably just the same struggle, different color, different neighbourhood, different city — but same struggle. Me, it’s just different, because I’m a different color.
What can we expect from your upcoming project?
We’re going to have a couple features on there. Then we’ll do videos and drop those.
What kind of features?
Just some good ones. Well, everyone knows I shot the video with P-Lo. I’m throwing P-Lo in there. I got more songs from the homies, RIP, and shit like that. Just continue to move on this journey.
I actually saw you in that pic with P. What’s been the most difficult part of being a minority in an urban-dominated industry?
Just being Asian. You know when you get that, “oh he’s talkin’ about that street shit, it’s not real.” Or “oh man, they not about that life, those Asians.” Or “oh man, they rich.”
Did you see Crazy Rich Asians?
Yeah, I seen that. I liked that movie. I got a song coming out called “Crazy Crip Asians.” Nah, I’m playing. [laughs] That might be though. I shoulda been done that when the movie came out.
What are some goals for yourself as an artist at this point in your career?
To go the highest I can and to go to the furthest I can. To get the richest I can, and help the most I can. That’s it.
Are you looking to get signed at all?
No and yeah. If the bag right, a couple million, then yeah. If not, then nah. We good to do everything independent. A lot of the rappers that I idolize, they independent.
How important is social media for your career?
Very important. That’s the only reason why I’m on social media so tough. If I didn’t rap, my social media would probably be dead, maybe 6 to 10 posts. ‘Cause I can talk to the people I want to every day, instead of going on the internet and shit. But I make music, so that’s why I have to keep up with that type of shit.
I don’t have Facebook though. I have a fan page and it’s verified still, but I don’t be on it like that. I got Twitter. My Snapchat is more like my personal life. That’s more just for me and my homies, and family. There’s fans that follow, but I guess they get to see my personal shit.
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
I wake up hella late. [laughs] Eat some breakfast, think about whether I am gonna hit the gym or not. Smoke some raw paper joints with weed. Think about what we gonna do, it depends what the day is.
3 things you need in the studio?
Some Hennessy, a fresh outfit, and a good engineer. That’s it. That’s the key for me. ‘Ccause there was one day when I made a whole gang of good songs, and one day when I made whatever songs. Even my whatever songs to other people are not bad. You gotta see how I work, I work like crazy shit. I can make 8 songs in one day. The same day I made “Trust Nobody,” I made a gang of bangers that whole same day. I was like, “damn, what the fuck? What did we do different?” We smoked, we drank, whatever. ‘Cause when you dress good and go in the booth, you got your chains on, you feel good. But when you go in there bummy, like sweats or shorts and shit, you probably just make whatever.
Where do you record?
I record in a lot of places. I never stayed in one spot. I just keep going to different studios, I think that’s good. But mainly same engineer though.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
Probably with the homies hitting licks. [laughs] Nah. If it would come to something else in entertainment, I’d probably be doing pranks. I’m dead serious. I like pranks. You know how I’ve been into music since I was little? Well I was into pranks when I was little too. My family knows.
I would not want you to prank me.
Yeah, it would be ugly. [laughs]
Favorite song to perform in a set?
“Mando,” of course. They go crazy over “Mando” but “Trust Nobody” is one of my favorite ones too. That’s the one you can actually dance, vibe, fuck around to. It’s a faster tempo.
Do you have any upcoming shows in LA?
Bobby (manager): Rolling Loud.
Damn, how could I forget that? It’s ‘cause I’ve been smoking loud. [laughs] But yeah, Rolling Loud, December 15th. We got a show tomorrow, that’s why. In Utah.
What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
That’s a good ass question. Damn, that’s hard. I run into a lot in public. Oh, a crazy ass one. This was on the night of the video shoot. This guy, we thought he was a bum or on drugs. He just randomly rolled his bike past the Staples Center where we were shooting, and he just stopped. One of the dudes, I guess he was with one of the dudes that’s on the song (Chris O’Bannon people), he was like, “Man this guy’s on a good one or something. That good dope.” He just randomly stopped and looked up at the sky. He was like, “False allegations my brother.” He started saying some shit and we were like, “You rapping?” I told him, “Spit some bars,” Then he looked at me, he was like, “No, why would I when I’m in front of the greatest rapper?” But it was in a weird ass way.
Usually the most common way is like “yo, you’re $tupid Young, can I get a picture?” Or “can you sign this?” It’s normal like “oh shit, it’s $tupid Young.” But this dude just stopped and looked crazy. It was late at night, he had a backpack and shit. I was like “what the fuck?” He asked me like, “You good?” And I looked at him and I was like, “Yeah i’m good, you good?” He was like, “No, but as long as you good.” And he just rolled off. That was some crazy shit. That was more than a fan, that was some higher spirit shit. ‘Cause usually when people say “are you good?” Even if they aren’t good inside, they gon’ say “yeah.” This dude was like “no,” and he didn’t hesitate or nothing. He told me, “As long as you good, I’m good.” And he rolled off.
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Sheesh. Probably Nipsey and Mozzy.
What’s your favorite song by Nipsey?
Damn, he’s got a lot of good ones. Probably “Bigger Than Life,” because I relate to that shit, every word. That’s probably the most underrated song by Nipsey. “Bigger Than Life” featuring June Summers. The shit just speaks to me, every word. My soul and shit. I listen to it sometimes before I do shows.
Have you guys crossed paths at all?
I was on FaceTime with him. I’ve seen him a couple times, but I’ve never really went up to him. I fuck with all of his main homies and shit, Pacman and all them. I know all the All Money people, but I never try to ask them for nothing. But when I went on FaceTime, it was the homie from thirties, Shady Boy. We were at the studios and he was like, “Man, oh I know Nip.” He called Nip and was like, “I wanna introduce you to my man.”
I went on the phone and I was like “what’s up, my name’s $tupid, I’m from Long Beach.” He was like, “I know who you are bro, keep going.” ‘Cause I could really get people for features even if they want a small bag or they don’t. But Nipsey is gonna be an accomplishment where I’ll be like “oh, what’s the ticket?” Or he will be like “oh, let’s get something in.”
See, Nipsey is a collab as one of my goals right? And I’m gonna achieve it. But a dream collab, shit. I am probably gonna do it with fucking Drake. Have him on some hip-hop shit, like some hard shit.
Anything else you wanna let us know?
Just stay tuned and look out for the upcoming Asian.