You may have heard YoungBoy Never Broke Again or discovered him while listening to one of your favorite rapper’s hit songs. Whatever the case may be, this young rapper’s star is on the rise making him one of the most sought-after artists in the industry. He is quickly working his way up through the ranks and making a name for himself.
Before he became professionally known as YoungBoy Never Broke Again, he was born on October 20, 1999, as Kentrell DeSean Gaulden in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Growing up proved difficult for Gaulden after his father was sentenced to 55 years in prison. Considering raising a child is a full-time job, Gaulden’s mother decided to place him in the care of his maternal grandmother. When he was four, he completely broke his neck while trying to wrestle. Healing that would take some time but it was more proof that this rough around the edges kid, was tough and willing to get dirty. The school was a struggle for Gaulden, so he dropped out of the 9th grade and began focusing on other endeavors. After dropping out of eighth-grade he got in contact with his mother and told her he wanted to try being a professional musician full time.“I wanted to be a rapper and I couldn’t focus and do that,” he said, “I didn’t even have the clothes for that shit. I felt like I wasn’t smart enough, so what the fuck I’m there for?”
Dropped Out of School
His decision worked in his favor. He soon gained traction with his music and began performing and touring. Soon after he informed his mother of his desire to be a famous rapper in 2016, he was arrested for arm robbery and sentenced to serving prison time for his role in the crime. His role in the crime was jumping out of a car and opening fire on a group of people. Initially, he was charged with attempted murder but he pleads to the lesser charge of aggravated assault. Considering he was only 17 at the time, he was tried as an adult and sent off to Parish Prison in Louisiana.
There isn’t a lot to do in jail and therefore you have to find ways to entertain yourself. For some, that could be a difficult process due to the depressing monotony of the day-to-day with long sentences. That wasn’t the cause for Gaulden. He became more inspired to better himself while he was serving time by pursuing his dreams to become a famous rapper. While he was in jail, he started working on his mixtapes and by the time he was out, he had two mixtapes full of hits. Gaulden said about the experience, “I did like two mixtapes and after that year was closing off, I got out of jail in December, some juvenile shit, I had told myself… because Young Scooter, I used to listen to a lot of Scooter. He dropped like four mixtapes a year. So I told myself every year I’m going to drop at least three mixtapes.” Consider Gaulden has been through a lot, at his young age he raps with the wisdom of many of his older colleagues. Sometimes it can be hard to find inspiration walking into a Wal-Mart but that wasn’t the case for Gaulden. At the age of 14, he purchased a microphone from Walmart and began recording his first music. He loved the experience so much, he started sharing his work with his friends and began to gain a lot of traction in the scene. Although his jail stint did hold him back for a time, he is back and ready to take the world on. In October 2016, Gaulden released his mixtape “38 Baby” to local acclaim. The tape even had a couple of big names in the game. Those names were Boozie Baddass and Kevin Gates. Having that affiliation and local talent helped to continue getting the word out about the talented teenager. Immediately after leaving prison, Gaulden released his song “Untouchable” to widespread popularity.
Rise to fame
2017 was a great year for the teenage rapper. He released a video for his song “41” and you could see his older colleagues Meek Mill, Young Thug, Boozie Badazz, Yo Gotti, and 21 Savage. In 2017 Gauden released his mixtape, A.I. YoungBoy which began charting pretty instantaneously landing on number 24 on the Billboard charts. The rapper’s single “No Smoke” also hit the Billboard charts peaking at number 61. Shortly after “No Smoke” was released the rapper announced that he was going to go on tour to support the album. The tour saw widespread success. The young rapper picked up more traction in 2018 when he announced that he was releasing his first solo album “Until Death Call My Name” after he signed his first record deal with Atlantic Records. The rapper’s song, “Outside Today” was released January 6, 2018, and it became the rapper’s highest-charting and most successful song after it peaked at number 31 on the Billboard charts that year. After getting released from prison, Gaulden said that he was more afraid of going back to prison than supporting his tour. As per the terms of his probation he was told to stay away from his friend Lil Ben and the threat of violating his probably seems to always loom over his head. In the past, Gaulden and his friend Lil Ben were inseparable with Lil Ben appearing in just about everyone one of his music videos. The two have known each other since they were crawling around in diapers. Gaulden said he doesn’t agree with the terms of his probation. He believes that the judge knew what she was doing when she made that punishment because he thinks it is difficult to stay away from his best friend. He told the Fader Magazine that he was going to pay for face altering plastic surgery so he can see his friend again. Since his release from prison, Gaulden has continued gaining traction with a career but he believes that with fame comes the responsibility of staying out of trouble. Unfortunately, flying under the radar could be hard for this successful rapper. With fame comes jealously and therefore, the rapper believes that he should watch his back and tread lightly. The rapper has expressed that he would like to move from Louisiana to Atlanta which is a rap mecca in the south. Recently Gaulden became a father of two and still has 3 more kids. He says now more than ever that he would like to keep a low profile and do well, so he doesn’t end up back in prison. He said, “I got fuckin’ children, I got a family that depends on me, I got a momma who doesn’t like to work, I got a baby momma that got three kids, two of ‘em from me. Everybody depends on me. I can’t fuck up. I ain’t the only person that I’m hurting. If I was given a billion dollars to do life in jail, I’d do it and give that shit to my fam.”On the surface, it may seem like Gauden didn’t have a normal childhood and missed out on a lot of different integral parts of what it means to be a kid. Although the rapper doesn’t necessarily feel like he is missing out, he told the Fader magazine that he still can have fun even if he has a lot of responsibility.” I still wanna do a lot of kid shit just to get my mind off the streets,” he told Fader. “Music gets my mind off the streets, but you know what I mean. I gotta make this shit happen. I can see, I can hear, I can smell, I can speak, I can touch — ain’t no excuses. Shouldn’t shit hold me back but death.”In February of 2020, Gaulden released his mixtape “Still Flexin, Still Steppin” and it debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200 charts becoming his second highest-charting release. Throughout 2020, the pandemic hasn’t necessarily held the rapper back from collaborating and releasing some major hits. He even got a chance to collaborate with his old friend Lil Baby. Although Gaulden claims to be influenced by many of his peers which include Kevin Gates, he believes he has a sound that is unique to him. He told XXL “I grew up listening to “Lil Phat because he was young. I like all his mixtapes. He’s from my city. I don’t know how I started rapping. The first I did was at school. I tried writing one. I liked it. People started to like it. It was what I wanted to do. I made my first mixtape two years ago. I had released five songs and they all had 1,000 views, each song, on YouTube. So I dropped a mixtape. I was expected it to blow up fast, but it took time. But I started to get noticed in my city.” Critics have referred to his voice as high energy and aggressive and it certainly translates into his music. If you listen to his verse on Gucci Mane’s 2019 hit track “Richer Than Everybody” you can feel the high energy and aggressive tone he gives off. With such a unique voice, Gaulden has not only collaborated with some of the greats but all his music is well written and comes from a place of someone who has lived countless lifetimes before the age of 20. The fact that Gaulden is still as prolific as he is after five years in the game says a lot about his work ethic. He is one of the hardest working rappers out there and many people are picking up on his talents. You can’t even notice the charts without seeing his name featured on a song. Big named rappers yearn to have his verses on their tracks for a good reason. He is one of the most interesting entertainers that has hit the public eye in a long time. Considering the rapper has experienced his fair share of conflict at such a young age, he has gained some real perspective on how he wants to live his life. For him, he doesn’t want to go back to prison and not be able to see his children grow up. It is hard on everyone that has to go prison and especially if you have kids. For Gaulden, he has a lot on the line and wants nothing more to bring in money for his family and enjoy the fruits of his labor. Sometimes it can be difficult to explore new music considering a lot of it gets buried with sites like Soundcloud. Soundcloud can skyrocket people to real celebrities or that person can fade away into oblivion considering it is saturated with rappers from all over the world. Caulden did see a lot of success with his sound cloud, ultimately he was meant to be signed by a record label, put on tour, and allowed to release music. If you want to be a musician, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, you should work and hone in on your craft. Secondly, you should release music on a platform and share it around. If it is good and the right people get ahold of it, you could see quick success. Calduen worked obsessively to get to where he is today and used every tool at his disposal to get there. These days Caluden is remaining a prolific rapper and someone that produces and releases work pretty frequently. Although he has seen his fair share of controversy, he remains optimistic that his work will speak for itself above his arrest. What is next for the young rapper is uncertain. Will he move to Atlanta and continue is rap career or will he stay in Louisana and not let go of his success there. Whatever the case may be considering the young rapper is multitalented and a layered person that people want to root for, you are going to hear from this rapper for years to come. Sources:https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/21/arts/music/youngboy-never-broke-again-top-billboard.htmlhttps://www.xxlmag.com/nba-youngboy-interview-the-break/https://www.thefader.com/2017/10/10/youngboy-nba-never-broke-again-cover-story-interview