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