By JR Valrey, the People’s Minister of Information
Oakland has a history of superb Hip Hop story-tellers although the Town has never received the credit for it, wordsmiths like: Askari X, Boots from the Coup, Seagram, V. White, the Luniz, 3X Crazy, BadnFluenz, Poohman, Father Dom, Dru Down, Casual, Opio, Tajai, and Saafir could paint exquisite pictures with words that have paved the way for today’s lyrical giants like Beeda Weeda, Zumbi, J. Stalin, Shady Nate, Lil Blood, Karega Bailey, and Brookfield Deuce to take the Hip Hop story-telling throne. There is one name that is not commonly mentioned among the great story-tellers of this era, and it should be, Young Gully.
Reminiscent of Tupac, Young Gully speaks from a place of experience, passion, and truth. Never one to follow the trend, he quit rapping while his name was bustling, for personal reasons, as well as he was disgruntled with the politics of the Bay Area scene. But now he is back in the studio, and getting into lyrical sparring shape metaphorically speaking, and regaining his barons.
Black New World Media sat down with one of Oakland’s most talented lyrical monsters, Young Gully, to step inside his world. Stay tuned to this exclusive interview.
JR Valrey: It’s been 3 years since you were in the rap game, what made you leave? What disgusted you?
Young Gully: I was disgusted by the politics of the region that I’m in. I also had financial problems amongst other situations, that I should not mention at this time. I also had to fight some demons as well.
JR Valrey: What about this pandemic period gave you the inspiration to return?
Young Gully: I just got motivated again for some reason. I thought my presence was needed again, music wise. Also I just have a passion for it, and I missed just recording.
JR Valrey: What has made you stay with the original music team that you came into the game with? Who are they? Has it worked for you?
Young Gully: Loyalty. YHTM, thats the umbrella. The leading founders are Bizzel, Young D, YH Chris, and myself.
JR Valrey: What are your thoughts on the local Bay Area Hip Hop and music scene? What do you think would bring more attention and money to the Bay scene?
Young Gully: I think we need more unity. We need to keep bringing more celebrities and outsiders into the Bay Area culture. We need less hating on each other. We need an understanding that we don’t have to be close, to move the game out here, forward. We need to be getting with the times mainstream wise, and mixing it in with our independent structure. We need to be building more businesses, that pump out our ideas and music here and elsewhere. Things of that nature.
JR Valrey: You have a reputation as a top-shelf Hip Hop story-teller, who are some of the story-tellers that you liked growing up?
Young Gully: I like Tupac, Nas, Jayz. Nowadays I like J. Cole dope. Kendrick is dope. Drake is not really a story teller, but he is motivation, as well.
JR Valrey: You have a reputation for “keeping it real”, what does “keeping it real” mean to you?
Young Gully: It means truth telling. It’s simple. It means being up front about shit, but also being self critical. I have had plenty of times where keeping it real either wasn’t my thing, or it got me in trouble. But speaking your truth willingly, no matter the consequences, and giving people angles to think differently, is what I consider keeping it real. I never thought it meant some “gangsta” shit or something like that.
JR Valrey: What are you currently working on?
Young Gully: Just music. I’m getting back into the flow of things. Nothing in particular.
JR Valrey: When can we expect your newest creations?
Young Gully: I wish I had a date, but I can’t even tell you. I’m finding my love for it again. I’ll just take it a day at a time, until I feel it’s time to move on something. Soon though.
JR Valrey: Besides music, what have you been up to during Covid?
Young Gully: Nothing. Literally. I had a major set back, and bounced back somewhat. I was taking time out to get myself back healthy and sane.
JR Valrey: Where can people keep up with you online?
Young Gully: IG: @Gullythatnigga
FB: Michael Watkins (Gully)