The Souljah's Playlist Featuring Wifigawd by Maxwell Young

 Wifigawd photographed by Maxwell Young for the  Uptown Interview.

Wifigawd photographed by Maxwell Young for the Uptown Interview.

Below is an excerpt from tomorrow’s Uptown Interview with Wifigawd, the underground rapper from Northwest, Washington, D.C. who’s navigating the social media/SoundCloud side of the music industry alongside performances with the internet’s next crop of rising artists like CHXPO, Warhol.SS, and Thouxanbandfauni. Ahead of his album slated to release on Wednesday, InTheRough also presents a selective offering of the Uptown Souljah’s vast music library, including a track from his old rap group, PortalBoyz (more on that in part two of the interview), as well as his smashing hit that premiered on No Jumper several weeks ago, “Sippin’ on Drank.”

Part one of the Uptown Interview featuring Wifigawd drops tomorrow morning. Enjoy the playlist at the end of the article.

On “How I Feel”

Wifigawd: That’s what I like to call arena music, stadium music.  When I’m making songs like that I’m thinking about ten thousand people knowing the words to that jont in the stadium and me not having to say nothing, just standing right there like, ‘Damn.’  Some big epic-ass shit.

MY: What do those sets look like if that’s a Wifigawd tour? Is that a stage and a mic?

Wifigawd: Honestly, I would always want the crowd in front of me, so I could interact.  I just need a gate so niggas can’t rush me, I won’t have on any jewelry, I don’t know, just flexed out.  I want to be close and intimate and have a split stage through the crowd so I can get every part of the jont turnt.

MY: Have you seen ‘Astroworld’ footage?

Wifigawd: Yeah, that shit is wack to me.

MY: How so?

Wifigawd: It’s just too much.  It takes away from the music--nigga’s on some circus shit.  If the music is hard you don’t need anything.

J.I.D Releases "DiCaprio 2" with help from producer Christo by Alex Young

 J.I.D left Christo right via  J.I.D’s  Instagram

J.I.D left Christo right via J.I.D’s Instagram

We’re watching Christo on TV. Not really it’s BJ The Chicago Kid, Thundercat with a Mac Miller tattoo on his arm, and J.I.D, an Atlanta rapper who’s sound in part comes from the mind of producer Christo, performing on late-night television with Jimmy Fallon. If you’re from Pittsburgh, you know how to support a moment like this when a hometown kid like Christo gets significant placements on a mainstream, number one hip-hop album being played live on national television. This feels like watching your star jock friend from high school ball out on ESPN with some pass deflections while beating the number two college football team in the country (aside because J.I.D got a scholarship to play football at University of Georgia).

Christo is Pittsburgh sound to the international audience. Christo has been out here productively and consistently producing music. What have you been doing?

Christo, aka ‘bounceman,’ is a Pittsburgh musician with a recognizable sound and a hand in a lot of songs from the city’s hip-hop artists. He has hits with majors like Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller and even Atlanta’s Ludacris. Christo’s crisp sound supports up and coming acts Choo Jackson and EarthGang.
— Me from an ITR article three years ago
 (left to right) Christo, Johnny Venus of Earthgang and Zeke

(left to right) Christo, Johnny Venus of Earthgang and Zeke

His catalog amplifies local hip-hop talent from around Pittsburgh although Christo has built success elsewhere too.  “I made a conscious decision to build with J.I.D and the whole Since the 80s camp,” Christo said in a November Instagram story. “DiCaprio 2” is an album by J.I.D, but the project has a lot to do with Christo. “Dicaprio 2 is the best work I’ve done with any artist to date… no cap lol,” he finished. In total, Christo has credits on six songs from “DiCaprio 2” as a composer, engineer, lyricist, producer, and studio personnel. Listen to “Westbrook.” J.I.D and A$AP Ferg feature, but Christo also wrote it says rap Genius.

Headed to Keith.wav and Zende’s album release party at The Bushnel back in October, Grace (DJ) played an early copy of “DiCaprio 2” off the aux in my Volkswagen Tiguan, whipping through Penn Hills, Pittsburgh. This was a clouted car honestly with Grace, My Favorite Color (slickest tongue in rap), and  Taylor Babushka (media personality/artist) processing the new music. Listening to J.I.D is “like reading a book,” Grace said as she broke from the 14-song album to play a more rhythmic “Immediately” by Mystro and Wizkid. You do have to pay attention when listening to J.I.D. You can get lost in the Christo bounce, and J.I.D’s intelligence comes across so clearly in his records that his words and flows make you think almost too much.

At any rate, that’s what makes J.I.D great. “DiCaprio 2” deserves your support for all mentioned here. Shout out to more Pittsburgh influences on the record too, like Nice Rec musicianship on “151 Rum” and management from Zeke of Since the 80s. Read a good DJBooth article about the bunch. Listen to music below.

Baby Keem - The Sound of Bad Habit by Alex Young

 Baby Keem via  Baby Keem

Baby Keem via Baby Keem

Baby Keem brand heats up as days go on and people discover his music online. Watching his Instagram live from Pittsburgh where InTheRough’s caught the Los Angeles rapper with questions, Baby Keem said he has more success with streaming platform Audiomack over SoundCloud. His newest mixtape, “The Sound of Bad Habit” amassed 10.6 thousand plays in 14 days on Audiomack alone. “I woke up and hit the lotto,” he raps in “Opinions.” The line is such a mood for how the Internet age can affect the popularity of rappers.

One blog reported a Tweet that said, “Baby Keem gave CPR to the hip-hop game.” Save yourself and stream “The Sound of Bad Habit.” It’ll have you “shaking like strippers,” former Taylor Gang producer Cardo says in the “Gang Activities” track. Cardo Got Wings production and influence juices Baby Keem’s product. You may be familiar with Keem’s work from “Redemption Interlude” from “Black Panther The Album.” I know you heard Jay Rock’s “Knock It Off,” yeah, that’s a Baby Keem beat.

With cosigns from prominent hip-hop actors, like those aforementioned and even notable A&R Brocky Marciano liking Keem’s pictures on IG, the rapper’s music is what makes his stock rise.

Baby Keem produced four songs on his “The Sound of Bad Habit.” He touched “Xmen,” “Miss Charlotte,” which he just released a music video for, “Check Please” and “Extra.” Cardo gets credit for beats on the album too.  The hard bass kicks and cool lyrics make this Baby Keem record something to share with your friends. “I like having fun,” he exclaims on the project. Listen and read good lines from his music below. “Next project coming 2019. We on,” Keem finished.

Good Baby Keem Lines

  1. “I don’t have time for trends. Dare I say it.” - Wolves

  2. “Gang, gang, gang it get chippy where I live.” - Check Please

  3. “I can’t fuck in the dark. Either you’re real or you’re not.” - Vicious

Yucky and John$ Occupy Different Pockets of Hip-Hop by Alex Young

Look for rap variety in Pittsburgh. Many acts make music, but not everybody is willing to mine local music. Shows aren’t packed out to see the cast of Pittsburgh rappers, although the climate is more intimate. Somebody says, “My friend raps,” and you get put on to new music that way.

Gentry Taylor, the manager for Yucky, a 24-year-old rapper living in the ‘Burgh’s Aspinwall neighborhood with a cult following and a baby pitbull named Faygo, introduced ITR to the artist. Yucky’s fun tracks have substance about a high, youthful and romantic gloom that sounds hopeful in his music.

I had to sniff a Perc ‘cause I was sad. Only thing that could put me in my bag. I had to pop a Xan cause I was sad. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah I was down bad.
— Yucky in "Only Thing" ft. Jimmy Wopo

Yucky’s music begins to sound like classic self-destructive narratives for the drug themes in hip-hop, but he’s more interesting for how he tells open stories about his life. Apparently, everything Yuck feels makes a hit record. “People call it ‘emo-trap.’ It has an alternative music style to it. It sounds more like rock music than traditional rap,” Yucky said. The sensitivity opens listeners ears. He’s got a part in the “Steel Teeth” film that illustrates Yucky’s punk-star mood. “Put me six feet in the dirt. Thinking ‘bout suicide I feel like Kurt,” he raps over precious chords.

In a wood-paneled room with his roommates, like fellow rapper John$ (John Dollar Sign), and Gentry, Yucky pet puppy pitbull in his lap. He rapped over his song “Anti Social” playing loud on the speaker:

“I don’t want to leave my room. Girl, won’t you come through… Promise I ain’t trying to duck you. I just ain’t trying to leave my room.”

I think everybody’s felt this way before, not wanting to leave the house for society, yet still longing for the company. These everyday thoughts we have connects various people to Yucky’s music.

“It’s okay to be lonely. That’s what you told me when you left. I just want you to hold me instead you ripped my heart out of my chest. You are not very nice,” Yucky raps in “Ok 2 Be Lonely.”

Let’s not get started on heartbreak. “I’m trying to get a feeling across in my music,” Yucky said.

“It’s crazy to see his evolution. He’s found himself within the SoundCloud wave,” John$ said about Yuck. Learn “how to utilize the Internet,” Yucky finished. The ‘net has allowed John$ and Yucky to grow a fanbase outside of Pittsburgh. They hope their fanbase in the ‘Burgh will happen naturally. Gentry chimed in that he’d want Yuck to work with Linwood if any Pittsburgh artist. “Linwood is a more marketable Kid Cudi,” he said.

If anything, Yucky, along with John$, is in a productive space in Pittsburgh to make music as they live together. “I’ve made a song every Wednesday. I made a standard for myself,” John$ said. He’s got a beat ready-made for Sierra Sellers. John$ just needs to write the song for her. Check out his record “i might be crazy” from his new EP “$ad.” For Yucky, he has plenty of records with bop producer from Cranberry, Pennsylvania Jackpott. Jackpott sent Yucky 45 beats for free, how generous.

As I left the wood-paneled room in Aspinwall, Yucky left me with, “I thought my music was good for a while now. It’s nice to get some recognition, and I want more, but… I don’t know if we’re even doing shit the right way.”

Photos of Yucky (above) and John$ (below) by Alex Young

Woolane - STUK by Alex Young

 Photos via  @woolane_

Photos via @woolane_

Popstars from Pittsburgh live and die. Woolane moves right now live and direct. That bop, that culture of being a dope human, that’s Woolane. I could write all day about his style and glitz digital hum, but you should just spend some time combing through his SoundCloud. Sample two tracks, a past song and his latest, then go digging on the Internet.

Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 11.56.50 PM.png

Woolane’s newest track, “STUK,” and “Comfortable,” an old cut, are in rotation. Both bang and shine on musical stardom in Pittsburgh. You might have heard “STUK” hyping the “Steel Teeth” film that will show how fun this ‘Burgh scene really is. “Comfortable” lit actually. Play it for your girl. “I wanna symbolize a glow. I wanna shine past the dark trap scene that got a curse on our city,” Woolane said when ITR asked why he wears a white Steelers Troy Polamalu Jersey instead of a black one. Woo’s a different mood. He’s a popstar.

Popstar is basically just for a very long time no matter what genre of music. Colored people made it. It was considered R&B or Rap when pop was a more successful genre. On the other hand, I’m truly a pop star. I make pop, and I’m a star. I got good energy when I’m on any scene even with complete strangers.
— Woolane on the definition of a "Popstar"

Listen to his music, and go to his show at The Smiling Moose on Nov. 8, 2018. Woo’s associates even carry heat. Check out “Purple Hearts” by YungDrip.