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J YOUNG MDK | WHY HE’S ONE OF THE HARDEST WORKING ARTISTS IN THE INDUSTRY

April 13, 2021

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

When J Young MDK is visiting Los Angeles, he’s typically at Jamie Foxx’ house—which properly showcases the close friendship and bond the two share. When you have Jamie Foxx as your mentor, you are undoubtedly destined for success. Being a triple threat means the ability to do music, act, and overall entertain, which is exactly what real name Jermaine Carter is here to do.

A true definition of a multifaceted creative, J Young MDK creates his own lane with an unmatched work ethic that does not go unnoticed. Last year alone, he became the first artist to drop 50 songs in 50 weeks. The year before that, he released his critically-acclaimed album Now Or Never, executive produced by Foxx himself. And well before he graced the music industry, he was already starring in a slew of television shows, films, and commercials.

His roles to date include an appearance in Meek Mill’s short film “Wins and Losses,” Fu­ture’s apple Music Movie ‘Feds Did a Sweep,” Tupac’s All Eyez On Me biopic, and Netflix’ Christmas movie The App That Stole Christmas alongside Jackie Long, Ray J, and Miguel Nunez Jr. And still, the best part about J Young is his smile and infectious energy, spreading love to all those who are blessed enough to cross his path.

Most recently, he released 2 albums in one day: the Aqua R&B album & Black rap album, showcasing versatility and his talents in transcending genres. Flaunt caught up with the recording artist, actor, director, hustler, and entrepreneur via Instagram Live, who was out in Malibu with Foxx himself. Read below as we discuss his name, his relentless work ethic, how he connected with Jamie, working on Now or Never, roots in Atlanta, Cali and New York, acting endeavors, studio essentials, top artists in rotation, recording process, goals, and more!


What was the inspiration behind your name?

MDK stands for Million Dollar Kid, I originally got that when I was younger. I came up with J Young. At first people tried to call me Young J, so I flipped it and said “nah, I’ma be J Young.” From there, a friend named me “the Million Dollar Kid.” He said “yo, you always look like a million dollars.” This is when I was younger, so I used to go by J Young, the Million Dollar Kid. As I got older, I abbreviated it to MDK. Most people don’t even think about the MDK, they say J Young MDK and don’t know what MDK stands for. [laughs]

Someone said you’re the “hardest working artist in the industry.” Are you?

I don’t know if I’m the hardest working, but I know I definitely work hard. It’s some people out there that work hard. The hardest working person is my mentor, Jamie. If I had to say who’s the actual hardest working, I’d think it’s him. I’m glad that people are noticing the hard work for sure.

How did you and Jamie Foxx link? 

I originally met Jamie in Atlanta on a movie set called Sleepless. He was calling me Tupac Bryant at the time, he said I looked like Kobe and Tupac. He made the joke, everybody was laughing. I let him know: “Hey, I know you think I look like Tupac and Kobe, but I rap and I’m dope.” I let him hear the music, he said “Oh shit, you really are dope.” That’s how the relationship started. He originally wanted me to go out to play for the Tupac role, so he had me fly out to LA and audition for the actual movie, but they already had Demetrius. Shout out to Demetrius, but that was the thing that opened the door originally with Jamie. I didn’t get the role, but I did end up in the Tupac All Eyez On Me movie as Hussein Fatal of the Outlawz. A blessing to even be on that movie set and be a part of that. From there, I started back reconnecting with Jamie on the music for an album called Now or Never that he executive produced for me.

What’s one thing you want fans to get from the Now or Never project?

At the point in my life, it was exactly what the title is: Now or Never. Shit needed to happen right now. I was working hard, I was grinding. Man, you know what? It’s all or nothing. Fuck waiting till tomorrow, it’s all or nothing right now. I really gotta make this shit happen right now. No games. And either I win or I lose, but I’m taking that shot. That project that changed my life because that took me from Atlanta to LA to being around, performing at all the clubs in LA. One Hotel, Delilah, everything you can name, we tore it up that summer 2019.

Delilah is dope!

Everywhere, performed there 4 or 5 times. Me going everywhere, performing at LIV in Miami. The project took it to the next step, the next level of where I’m trying to go. It was very important and very dope. Since then, I released 3 more albums recently: Aqua, Black, and White. It’s super dope, because I was able to really show the diversity, that’s the whole thing with those projects. Black is a rap album, Aqua’s an R&B album. White is an alternative-R&B-pop, a big mixture of everything. It’s dope to be able to do that.

You’re from Atlanta, how does that play into your life and career?

The thing is, I was born in California. I also lived in New York, so the fact I had California roots, lived in New York, and was raised in Atlanta, it made me a different person than I would be if I only lived in Atlanta, only lived in California, or only in New York. It really gave me the diversity with that. I could flip it, I could hop on whatever type of record and take it there based on my roots.

At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?

In high school was when I figured it out. Even still, I’m an actor as well. I just like entertainment. I didn’t know I’d be rapping or singing. It evolved into rapping, it evolved into writing R&B songs. Not singing them, but singing them to give to artists. It evolved into “fuck it, I’ma keep these records for myself.” It evolved into “let me get into acting.” Entertainment has everything.

Talk about your role in The App That Stole Christmas On Netflix.

The App That Stole Christmas is on Netflix right now. It trended at #2 when it came out, super dope. Me, Jackie Long, Ray J, shout out to Dollphace, aka Monica Floyd. She directed and produced it. She has a few more movies we’re filming this summer that’ll be out: one’ll be out this year, and the other will be out top of next year. It’s gonna be dope.

You’re the first artist to drop 50 songs in 50 weeks, where do you get this work ethic from?

I’ve never been lazy. I’ve always been a hustler, I’ve always grinded. I played sports. I was real good at football, I ran track, I played basketball. I think it came from sports. I took those same skills and same principles and transferred it to this. Whatever I do, I got the same work ethic. I don’t care what it is, I’ma work just as hard. That’s something I believe in, I’ve never respected lazy people.

3 things you need in the studio?

Really, I need me and the mic. That’s it, and some hot beats. Gotta have the hot beats, me and the mic. Sometimes smoke a lil something, drink a lil something, but the vibes and good energy. I can’t stand when bad energy be around, you can’t even do your thing. Positive vibes, good energy. Sometimes some smoke, sometimes some liquor. Some BSB, shout out to Jamie Foxx with the BSB boys. He got the new Brown Sugar Bourbon liquor.

You say you don’t write, do you freestyle?

I freestyle. I like to freestyle. Sometimes I go all the way through, sometimes I’ll punch, but I don’t even like listening to a beat before I do the record because I like the free thoughts. What you think the first time when you see something, when you feel something, it’s better than going over it or listening to it a million times, then coming back. For me. You got some people that’s better when they do a rough draft then they do a final draft, but I’m not like that. I said what I said, that’s what it is. Feel like that and go from there.

What inspired “Run Away”? Love the dancehall vibes.

My dad’s Puerto Rican, and my mom’s Black. I swear she’s from some island. I don’t know where she’s from, she don’t know where she’s from. She’s got to be from somewhere. That Caribbean vibe has always been there. All my friends: I got African friends, I got Jamaican friends, I got Dominican friends, everything. I have a very diverse group of friends, that’s a big part of it. I love dancehall music, I love all music.

 

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How was it flying on the PJ?

Oh my God, c’mon now. I be telling people: “look Foxx, you’re used to this shit. I ain’t used to flying on no private jets like this, no $50K for one trip.” That ain’t what I’m used to. It was amazing, I couldn’t even sleep. I was exhausted, but I had to stay up the whole ride. Thinking about the next record I’m about to write, I couldn’t sleep. Not only that, you land and you got the Rolls Royce waiting for you. You got a Maybach truck custom-made, you got the SUVs. It’s insane.

How would you describe your fashion style?

You never know what you’re gonna get with me, but it’s gonna always be fly. Because I’m a fashion guy, I love dressing fly. I dress for the occasion. If we’re going out to eat, I’ma dress a certain way. If we’re going to play basketball, I still wanna be fly and dress a certain way. Whatever it is, I wanna be fly. That’s it. I love getting dressed.

Top 5 Artists in rotation?

Drake, I like Tory Lanez. Me of course, I was listening to Gucci. I ain’t gonna lie, Future always in my rotation. Lil Baby super hard. I like Moneybagg Yo, he go crazy. BLXST, he goes hard. It’s a lot of people. I like Jhene Aiko as well. She’s super tough, straight up. It’s a lot of people. It depends on what we’re talking about, how I feel. Rick Ross stays in my rotation. I go listen to all the old Rick Ross. He makes you feel like getting money. Snoop Dogg, Snoop’s definitely in my rotation as well. Rick Ross makes me feel like rich-rich. Listening to him, you could be driving in  a whatever. You’re gonna feel rich rich.

 

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Bring us back to the “Love By Now” video shoot. Highlights?

That was super dope. To be there with Jamie, Nicole from the Pussycat Dolls, George Lopez, Tank, that shit was crazy. Epic, that’s my first time meeting all of them. Being at the video shoot and seeing how the master works, it’s crazy. We got to go to the top of a mountain, and Jamie threw a piano off the mountain. [laughs] Speaking of, here goes Jamie now. [Jamie enters screen] You gotta see Jamie’s daughter play. Not just that, she plays so many songs and she plays the guitar.

Jamie Foxx: We got a record about to drop!

What I didn’t tell you is we got a group called BSB Boys: it’s me, Jamie, Marcus, Lonnie, Merrell, and my guy Sam. BSB Boys is fly. The music we got coming, it’s gonna be a hot summer as they would say.

What can we expect from the “Rich Shit” visual?

“Rich Shit” visual is coming ASAP. I’m shooting the rest of everything. Shout out to my guy Taylor right here– “Rich Sh-t” video, he’s gonna direct it. It’s coming.

 

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How’s fatherhood?

Fatherhood is amazing. It’s awesome. I love my daughter to death. To be able to see her grow is a beautiful thing, so I’m excited, happy, and lucky.

Goals for yourself as an artist at this point of your career?

My goal is to be bigger and better than the last version of myself. Make it happen and keep working. Keep grinding and be the best version of me I can be. That’s it, and keep good people around.

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