The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place - lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good - so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Have something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week's Rapper:
This Week's Subjects:
Rappers' sensitivity levels; who's more important: producer or rapper; the big-name feature quandary.
MP3: Surreall, "Somebody Call NASA" (produced by Yung Chill)
Ask a Rapper: You've worked with some of the bigger names out there - Snoop and Bun and so on. Seriously, how sensitive are rappers to criticism?
Yung Chill: It varies on the artist. Sometimes you gotta kinda feel 'em out beforehand before you try to tell 'em anything. Some artists let me come right in and give my criticism. But certain artists you gotta just feel 'em out let 'em do their thing. Just really depends on who it is.
AAR: Okay, so you're probably going to duck if we ask who were some of the most sensitive to work with?
AAR: So tell us, who were some of the better ones? Who were guys that let you just jump right in there and direct them?
YC: Paul Wall is one of the most open people that I worked with. It's one of them situations where he get in the lab and just work. Kylla Kyleon, he's real open as well. I don't think any of the artists that I've worked with haven't been extremely open.
AAR: Who's more important in a song, the rapper or the producer? And don't give us any of that "we're equal" nonsense. You know that's not true.We're pretty sure you could take a Durrough track and throw someone on there and it'd be a banger.
YC: [laughs] It goes both ways. Everything plays a part. It really depends on both ends. To have a hit, you gotta have talent on both ends.
AAR: You've played both sides of the fence. Which is harder, being a producer or a rapper?
YC: I think being an artist is a lot harder because you really gotta worry about going out and doing shows and being at events. I mean, it's good to move around and do shows and network, but [as a producer] I can be on the back burner. Artists gotta worry about people really getting into your public life.
Honestly, whenever the general public hears a song, they don't even know where the song comes from. Production is the life without the big lights. But if you just wanna be famous, be a rapper. There's plenty of them with no money.
AAR: Isn't it tricky when you sign someone on to do a feature on a song that is just crazy good? On the one hand, you get to ride their coattails a bit, but on the other, you're pretty much setting yourself up to be outshined. It's like being in an adult flick with Ron Jeremy, ya know.
YC: I'm not gonna lie, man. Even on my record [Stop Talking and Listen
], I feel just because of the people on the features, people were like "Oh, he go harder than Chill." I mean, my album was more about showing off my production. But honestly, I feel like I was smashing on the album. I'm not gonna lie, Snoop Dogg killed it ["Cruisin"], but he's like 40. I felt like I was right there with him.
Another bad thing is you end up getting on there and people mistake it for their song. Like, oh that's the new Snoop song featuring Chill. That's another downfall. I mean, it's good to get those features, but I do feel like it's important that you build your own buzz first. That's how you wanna get yourself out there.
Visit Yung Chill online at www.yungchill.com, and follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/yungchill.