Moe: I really appreciate you joining us today. Your video, “New York State of Mind,” is so incredible. Before we get into that, I just want you to let everyone know where you are from. What city are you representing?
YN: Absolutely. Well, my name is YNX 716 and I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. I have been doing music for about 10 years now, and I use music to pretty much get through life and it reflects what I’ve been through. So, you know Buffalo is definitely a city that struggles sometimes. I utilize that as motivation to reflect in my music.
Moe: It’s awesome to know that being from Buffalo has such a deep meaning to you. Buffalo has a different vibe when it comes to lyrical content and beats. You guys really have amazing lyrical skills. I wanted to talk to you about that because I do consider you to be a lyricist and a poet. Do you feel that they are one and the same?
YN: Absolutely. You know I have one track where I started writing and it started as a rap, and then, when I kind of slowed it down and brought it back, it kind of turned into a poem. So, I would say they definitely tie it. As an expression, it just depends on how you deliver it. If rap is your craft, you know what identifies as a rap versus a poem. In my mindset, I’m like a reality rapper. So, it’s not really Hip Hop per se, but everything that I speak about is from reality, you know, life experiences.
Moe: How long have you been writing?
YN: I started as a young child. I was a singer at first and when my voice began to change, I had to figure out something else to do. So, I’ve been writing since I was about 16. As far as rapping is concerned, as I got older, I learned different writing styles. I’m 27 now, so, I would say I have been writing for about 11 years.
Moe: You are from New York where Hip Hop truly originated from. How do you feel that your style has from the evolution of Hip Hop to our present time?
YN: I believe as you get older, you go through different trials and tribulations. I would say that the more that I went through things, the deeper the music I delivered. So, you know, I would say that as I get older, I continue to live life, and I use music as a breakthrough to get through different situations.
Moe: I want to definitely talk about your song “Legend.” It’s incredible. Everything from the lyrics to the track that was chosen. What was the inspiration behind that?
YN: I was working on my album, and you know I just felt as though something was missing. I felt that it was definitely a complete album, but I needed something else that would make me totally comfortable with it. I was looking for beats and I reached out to an individual. He’s a producer, an international producer named Trippy Trips. He works with a lot of well-known artists. I reached out to him about this particular beat I was looking for, and wanted to know if it was available. The beat that I picked originally had been sold, so I ended up finding the beat for “Legend,” at the last minute when he sent it over. At the time I was doing a show out in Chicago, opening up for an artist from my city named Benny. So, I went to his show with a few friends. I was supposed to perform at the opening of the show. It didn’t work out like I expected it to. So, basically, I didn’t get a chance to perform in Chicago. That’s why I put that verse in, “I was better off left getting booed off in Chicago.” I was basically saying I would have rather had a chance to rap and get booed, instead of not being able to show my talent at all. That grew from my anger and me being disappointed. I didn’t want to rap at one point. I wanted to give up rapping. But I came to my senses. I told myself, “You’re going to be a legend in the rap game, so don’t let these small situations get you behind.” That’s what inspired that track. Just the experiences in the music industry. You have to speak into existence what you’re going to be in this industry.
Moe: Exactly. Your music is very rich, full of profound content. I can feel it spilling out of you. Can you tell us what current project you’re working on right now?
YN: My album will drop on March 31st. It’s incredible. It’s titled “Hennessy Memories.” My plan now is to drop a project every quarter. I plan on dropping another EP or album on my birthday titled “Gemini.” Basically, everything is going to tie in because I express myself through music. I’m currently promoting the “Hennessy Memories,” project.
Moe: Out of the two, which one has been your favorite project?
YN: I would say, “Hennessy Memories.” I was letting my cousin listen to it, and he stated that this is very different and that I was opening up a lot. Usually, I’m a very private person. If you want to get to know me, you would have to pretty much listen to my music. I’m getting a lot of feedback, like everybody’s saying, you know, that they felt the emotions in my words and things of that nature. So, “Hennessy Memories,” is definitely my dearest project to date right now. Not just because it's my first album, but because I really believe I gave my all on this project.
Moe: How many tracks are on this particular album?
YN: There are 10 tracks.
Moe: Fantastic! You were speaking of the incident that happened in Chicago, and the disappointment that came with not being able to perform at that particular show. It almost made you quit performing. How do you deal with disappointment like that now?
YN: Some things I won’t get over until I put it in my music. Putting it on a track made me feel better about the whole situation. I was holding on to it although everybody around me was saying it's not a big deal, keep going. At the time, I felt as though that was my opportunity. I'm really passionate about Hip Hop. Once I put the lyrics in “Legend,” I was able to express myself and get it out of me. When I did that I felt much better about it and I'm accepting it. “Legend,” is motivation. It’s basically me telling myself, “you went through this, YNX 716, but at this point, you know you got to move forward and you're going to be a legend.”
Moe: I definitely respect that. I do hear something very different in your tone. I think you're being very transparent. In your music, it’s not about you trying to flex on this thing or that thing. Your music is definitely different in that arena. You are truly representing Buffalo well. What does the underground music scene look like there right now? There seems to be a bit of a surge and a swelling of new talent there. Where do you feel you fit in with that?
YN: I haven't done a show in Buffalo in about two years. It's been a while since I've done a show in Buffalo because there are more artists than there are fans. There were a lot of rappers in the crowd versus fans. A lot of people have pride issues in Buffalo. So it's to the point where even if they feel your music, they're not gonna voice that. You know what I mean? I am to the point right now that I'm working on going beyond Buffalo. Not that I'm going to forget where I'm come from, but I want to be able to get my music out for the world to be able to hear it. Everybody in Buffalo has the chance to hear me while I'm still in this position. I do promote, but I don't do as much promotion in the city as I should. I'm very accessible as far as supporting other artists who would you like to do a show or perform with me, or something of that nature. Right now I'm just focused on building my brand and marketing to be able to take it to the next level. Eventually, the goal is to expand outside of Buffalo.
Moe: You are thinking outside of the box. It appears you live in an area where there is an over saturation of emerging Hip Hop artists. Sounds like Atlanta. At least you are strategic and have a Plan B. Any other potential markets that you feel would be strong or compatible with your brand of music?
YN: Right now I wanna make my way to New York City because I know that's really where Hip Hop lives. I would say the actual city of New York would be more welcoming to my style and my flow. I also think I would go to Philadelphia and Chicago. I said I would go back to Chicago to redeem myself. Everything else, we are just kind of playing by ear. I plan to definitely expand beyond Buffalo and other areas as well.
Moe: Beautiful. That is the mind of an entrepreneur. You're already setting your goals outside of your peripheral view. I believe you're going to do some phenomenal things. How would you identify yourself as an artist?
YN: I'm probably not going to be the artist that you're going to be able to party to, but I'll be the artist that will be able to help you get through some things. If you're going through a situation or you know, lost, I'll be able to help in regards to getting you through that. Just like the music got me through it. You know what I mean? So, that's my goal. I always ask God if I can do anything, in this world, just allow me to be able to help people. If I can help people through music that would be a plus.
Moe: Yes. I respect that so much. Your vibe is very contagious. Your flow is something you can just sit back and kind of chill to. I was listening to your song, "Numb.” What were you going through when you wrote that song?
YN: For “Numb,” in particular, I put myself in the mind set to be able to be numb to everything. There's so much negativity going on in the world. When I wrote “Numb,” I was not really in a dark place, but I was in a place of acceptance. I was accepting what the world is worth, you know, kind of that nature. That's pretty much where I was at that point.
Moe: That's so profound. You’re being honest and not hiding behind the music. I was talking to a couple of other artists just about the millennial generation and what is happening in our world. It’s upside down. How are you dealing with some of these challenges? It's crazy for me. I can't imagine how it feels as a young person who's trying to actually make a difference and trying to come up in the world. How are you dealing with all of this chaos?
YN: What I usually do is definitely try to keep a level head with everything. I'll practice common sense. I try to relay that to the people that are around me. There is definitely a lot going on, especially with black males. So, you know, my opinion is to always be focused. My dad always said keep your head on, be smooth and always stay focused. Always watch your surroundings. I have a son, so I try to let him be a child, but at the end of the day I'll be there to make him understand things as well. I don't give him long explanations about certain things. I am empathetic about some things. I have to let him experience it as well, just like I had to go through it. A lot of people don't seem to care about what’s happening. If people start to tune in to my music they will definitely see that I'm reflecting on what's going on around us.
Moe: Absolutely. I agree 100%. I hope that you realize that people are definitely looking up to you for what you are doing with your music. I think that's a beautiful thing. With that being said, how important is music to your life?
YN: I don't know what I would do if I wasn't able to rap and do my music. Music is definitely the best source and the best outlet that I have. I don't know how I would manage in life without rap because I don't have any other outlet. Rap is my outlet and my voice, notes to my feelings, you know, voice therapy. My body and soul are two separate things. The music is a way for my soul to speak to the universe.
Moe: Since this is a tool that you are utilizing to express yourself to a global audience, what is it that you hope at the end of the day you will accomplish? Also, if you were to set one goal, what would you hope to have definitely succeeded in?
YN: Well, I would like to be able to support my family and up-lift music. You know, there's no better feeling than to be able to do something for your mother. You know, you can easily find a job, but if you find something that you love to do, you might be able to benefit from it. Not that everything is about money, but money does make the world go around. I'm very highly skilled at what I do. I think this should be my line of work going forward, and that's what I plan to pursue at this point.
Moe: Is there anyone in particular that you would like to work with that is an inspiration for you musically?
YN: Absolutely. My favorite rapper is Nas. Eventually, once I do make it to that point, I'll be reaching out. I'm definitely looking out for the people in my city that are shining as well because they're actually giving Buffalo a voice. We haven't had any major rap artists out of Buffalo. We had the legendary Rick James come out of Buffalo, New York. Other than that, we haven't had anybody else besides Griselda. So, you know, I'm getting a lot of comparisons such as, “You sound like... you should be... you have that Griselda sound.” I'm not going to get offended because they're actually giving Buffalo a sound, you know what I mean? It’s good to be able to have that influence, and for them to have the opportunity to pave the way so that we can actually have a sound. I'm looking forward to working with Benny the Butcher, so I'll be reaching out to him. I already have a track lined up, you know, just trying to get everything as far as the budget right. I'm gonna start rolling and just make my way up.
Moe: I want you to speak not only to Buffalo, but to everyone who might be reading your interview. If you were giving a message of hope and inspiration, what would you say right now?
YN: I would just tell everyone to follow their dreams. Never let anybody tell you that you can't do anything. Never limit yourself. Understand that everything is possible. I always joked with my mother because I'm the type of person that has to try to do everything. I'm going to try to be an electrician. I'm going to try to be a plumber. Being a homeowner, you have to be able to do those types of things. I tell my mom, just like that plumber or that electrician had to practice to get to where they are that I can do the same thing with practice. I just want everybody to know you can achieve anything with practice. Just continue to strive to chase your dream. Life is really short, whether we know it or not. It’s too short to not be doing what you love to do.
Moe: Wow. That's phenomenal. Can you please let us know what your social sites are for anyone who wants to follow you and become familiar with your music?
YN: Definitely. You can YouTube search YNX 716. You can also find me on Apple music, Amazon and Google Play by searching YNX 716. You can follow me on Instagram @Itsnice716. You can also follow me on Twitter @YNX716 and on Facebook at young Y N nice. That's: y o u n g (space), Y N, (space), n i c e.
Moe: Any final shout outs you would like to give to anybody who is listening?
YN: I just want to give a shout out to my family, my mother, my father and my grandmother. I want to give a shout out to my business partner, Tee. She has been definitely a support system. She helps me shoot my videos, do promotions and things of that nature. Shout out to my man Twan. Shout out to Money Mizz and Rae. That's pretty much it. Shout out to Scott, Star, my cousin Monay and All Beat Music. Shout out to the whole family.
Moe: We definitely will be supporting you and your music. Thank you so much for being a blessing to Atlanta Cosmopolitan.
YN: It was my pleasure.