It must be tough being Yung Berg. For every win, including two successful singles in “The Business” and his featured guest spot on Ray J’s “Sexy Can I,” the Chicago native has dealt with everything from chain jacking to getting slapped by Maino. Major wins and loses is an everyday thing when it comes to Hitmaka. Spending years out of the limelight for time in the background, Berg managed to survive through songwriting and producing. That includes playing the background for artists including Nicki Minaj, Diddy, Lil Wayne, Tamar Braxton and Fabulous. Clearly, Berg can make hits despite cutting himself down with controversy.
Going the reality television route, Berg would find new fans due to his short stint on VH1’s Love & Hip Hop Hollywood. Audiences watched his ridiculous three way triangle between himself, Masika and Hazel E. Later, he would removed from the show after reports of domestic violence charges came up against Berg regarding Masika. Hoping to find some form of redemption, he’s embarking on a solo career starting with “Masika’s Interlude,” named after the women he allegedly choked out.
Speaking with DX, Yung Berg discusses his return to a solo career while dealing with various controversies.
Yung Berg Says his “Bounce Back Game Is Crazy”
DX: How’s the week going?
Yung Berg: I’ve been busy. Last night I was in the studio with O.T. Genasis working on some stuff with him. The day before that, I was in the studio with DJ Mustard. The day before that, Jason Derulo. It’s been a packed up week man. I’m just trying to get it right man, turn the summer up. Making it a hot summer.
DX: Last year you helped songwriter Nicki Minaj’s “Want Some More.” What was your exact input in The Pinkprint track?
Yung Berg: Well, “Want Some More” was the first track from the album that we ended up working on and it was like Labor Day or Memorial Day weekend. She went to Vegas and I asked her to go too. At that time, I thought our relationship was good enough since we’d cultivated a relationship. I was like, maybe I could go to Vegas and be on the scene with her. Then I kind-of curved it after a lightbulb came off and thought to ask her if I could go to the studio with her. Wanted to see if we can knock out some records together. She went to Vegas, allowed me to go to her studio and me and Jeremiah knocked out three or four songs in a span of two days. After that, one of the end results was “Want Some More.” So that was co-produced with Metro Boomin and Zaytoven. Me and Jeremiah wrote the hook together.
DX: You’ve also have a nice amount of songwriting and producing credits including Diddy’s Last Train To Paris album with Dirty Money. Is something planned with him since he announced his grand return to production?
Yung Berg: To be perfectly honest with you, Puff flew me out to Miami a couple of months ago for a week and a half. I worked on the project with him and we did two records together that’s crazy. I’m proud to say I’m on two joints on the album. I talk to Puff all the time. Here goes a funny ass Puff story. From that time, I didn’t talk to him and I texted him. It’s weird to me because you think that people like Jay Z or Puff are above certain things but Puff is really in tune with pop culture. I texted him like I got some more hits for you. He responded like you better have some hits for me turn-up. It’s crazy that he literally hit me back that quick. That’s the big homie.
DX: Did the gap in solo work and heavy leaning toward the background in music production and songwriting come from the controversies regarding the chain snatching?
Yung Berg: Well, I was already writing and producing my own records even when I was on my solo artist thing. I think that I was so young and caught up in the lifestyle and happy to be on and making it. When you come from the city I come from like Chicago, everybody say you ain’t going to make it. Once I finally got on, I was like, “fuck it.” I wasn’t in the radio stations like you know my new single, I wrote and produced it as well, I wrote the hook for every artist featured on the project. I should have been pushing that message but I was caught up being a young guy.
Now, I think the controversies are what makes a man. I came up in the spotlight when YouTube and Worldstar were starting to pop off so you’ve been able to see my life as it goes. I’m not ashamed of any mishaps or faults that have happened because it’s not really the destination that’s important but the journey. It’s about getting to that point that creates character and makes you the man you see right in front of you.
DX: Must feel good that those artists you’ve had to deal with haven’t even met your level of success even on the background tip right?
Yung Berg: You know what, I don’t feel that way because I think it’s more about me. I’m showing people that I’m resilient. No matter how many times you go through something or something may come your way, you really have to just bounce back. My bounce back game crazy.
Yung Berg Explains Purpose Behind “Masika’s Interlude”
DX: Considering everything you’ve gone through within your career along with your success in production, why make a push into the solo game now?
DX: You know, it’s more so that I have something to say. I didn’t really want to do any records where I talk about having 100 bitches or 100 bottles in the club because I feel the people have heard it from me before. That was my whole span of records. I went through a lot of different things and told myself I’m not really going to rap because I work with a lot of rappers. The last thing I wanted the people I worked with to say was that I was going to take something from them and that was something that held me back. Now, I’ve gotten my level up, I’ve sat back and gained relationships. Like the people that I work with really know me and I have rapport with them. So, it’s really not that type of situation. Plus, I have shit to talk about. I don’t do many interviews so, this is the start of me really coming out. Trust me, everything you want to know is in this project. I’m going in.
DX: Are there artists who you can say had your back throughout the controversies?
Yung Berg: Well you know, industry wise? I don’t know. I can’t say. Nobody, shit. You know how the game go. My management team had my back. My family had my back. My brother Sincere also from Love & Hip Hop has had my back, he’s been with me since day one. My brother doc. Other than that, nobody. That’s what this game is. I don’t feel anyway about it. I literally relish in the fact that people may have an opinion or stigma about me but I’m able to walk in the studio and change your whole thought and concept of who Yung Berg is. I don’t give a fuck. You could have dissed me two years ago; you want a record and got that check, I’m pulling up to you. It’s going to be an incredible record. I don’t hold no grudges against the music business because I’m a businessman.
DX: With your recent domestic violence arrest, why would you create a song titled “Masika’s Interlude?”
Yung Berg: I was doing this record and I was in the studio with a friend of mine named Goldie who is on the record singing it with me. We were talking about trials and tribulations. It was more of a fact that I wanted to say something but say it eloquently and didn’t want to be a nigga. I didn’t want to be doing niggerish things because I’m growing up. Like I said before, I’m growing up right in front of your eyes. I’m showing a new lane of expression. I can’t really dive too deep into it but it’s a beautiful song. I look forward to women being compelled by it all across the globe. It has a lot of soul in it, a lot of pain and passion in this record. One listen, you’re going to be hooked.
DX: Has Masika heard the record?
Yung Berg: No, I haven’t really spoken with Masika in months. That’s just how things go but I can’t wait for her to hear it. When she does hear it, she’s an artist as well so I guarantee she’s going to appreciate the musical value. It’s going to be interesting.
DX: Of course this all took place after your time on Love and Hip Hop Hollywood. Was that an experience you regret or not?
Yung Berg: No, no regrets. At the end of the day, my whole goal was to get on the show and do something different. I know there are a whole bunch of bullshit. None of the artists on Love and Hip Hop with the exception of the ones who really took it to another level, never really put out good music. It’s not really known, like everybody there is kind of like a joke or it seems like it’s not really real. My goal was to get on there and with me transitioning from producing and songwriting, I wanted to actually make a record on national television for someone on the cast and I was able to do that. The “Deserve” track I did for Tierra Marie did well on radio and iTunes. She didn’t really shoot a video and see it all the way through but my point was that it was a home run for me. Regardless of whatever trivial shit happened, it’s Love and Hip Hop so it’s going to be something. Things like that; bumps and bruises. At the end of the day, my goals were accomplished.
DX: I remember seeing Joseline Hernandez say on TMZ that Love & Hip Hop is fake and scripted. Is there any truth to that from your perspective?
Yung Berg: I don’t think it’s scripted but at the end of the day, it’s about what you tell them. If you go tell people a lie that’s running the show and lying about your life, it’s probably going to be a lie. If you keep it 100, they’re going to give you what the 100 value is. I can never say anything bad about Mona Scott Young or anyone on VH1 because at the end of the day, they gave me a platform. I had 200,000 followers on social media and over 400,000 today. Thank you, they gave me awareness and abilities to do certain things. They never put me in the position where I felt I was being taken advantage of.
DX: How exactly have you grown? Any difference between the Yung Berg of yesterday and the Yung Berg of today?
Yung Berg: I’m working on controlling my filter because what a lot of people don’t understand is that I’m a songwriter. I’m an emotional person. I’m a walking emotion. Sometimes, I act on my emotions. When things that you saw were controversial, it was me probably acting out of emotion. I was just acting and not thinking things through. I’m just trying to control my emotions at this point. It works phenomenal in the studio, when I’m by myself with a beat and what another person making a song. But if I’m out in these streets or on Instagram and all this other stuff, it doesn’t work that well for me. I just have to control that.
DX: Do you see yourself doing reality TV again?
Yung Berg: I mean, I’m a walking reality show. I got an instagram, my reality television show doesn’t stop. Everything I do. At the end of the day, if God got me, then that’s what I’m doing. I didn’t know in 2008 while I had a bunch of hit records that I was going to be on Love & Hip Hop in 2014. It’s just a transition. Nobody ever thought that I would be working with Nicki Minaj, Meek Mill, or Trey Songz. At the end of the day, I’m just taking it one day at a time. Just continuing to grow.
DX: It must be difficult to walk that line within the age of social media.
Yung Berg: Yeah because like…this is not a complaint because I do it myself and I put myself in situations because I’m obviously the one tweeting but I wish that everything wasn’t turned and twisted to a scandal, or something like that or say that I’m throwing shade at previous girlfriends. They want to link everything I say. I don’t have any bad feelings to nobody. I love Masika and will always love Masika, for ever. I don’t have bad blood for her or anything to say about her. All I have is praise for that woman. Hazel E, I don’t have nothing bad to say about her. Congrats, do what you do. I’m not a person that holds grudges. I’m a person that moves forward, takes our experience and translate it to dope records. If you’re going to hear something, it’s going to be in the music, not on no Twitter.
Yung Berg Discusses Transition Back Into Solo Artistry
DX: Is this going to lead to a full length project, it’s been several years right?
Yung Berg: As I said before, I have a lot to talk about. I just went in the studio and in three studio sessions, I came out with thirteen songs that are amazing. I feel that this is going to push the culture forward because they’re honest. That is what’s missing from a lot of music of today. I’m not going to get on songs and say I’m a thug or killer. I’m vulnerable at times. I’m crazy at other times. I’m a good friend at some times. I’m a horrible friend at some times. I’m not a good boyfriend. I’m a good person to hang out with. You get all that in my music so it’s not really like I’m just poppin shit, bottles, bitches and all of that. This is something I’m standing on that’s going to be a piece of work. No matter how you feel about Yung Berg, Hitmaka or whatever you want to call me, it’s amazing.
DX: Did you discover a new way of approaching music as a solo artists considering the fact that you got a chance to work with Tamar, Nicki Minaj or even Diddy? It’s been awhile since you released an actual album.
Yung Berg: Since I’m about to work with these people, I feel like I’m ahead of the curb because when I think about things it’s different. In 2007 or so when Jay Z did “Death Of Autotune,” people were slandering Autotune. I came out with “The Business” and went platinum with that record. Then I had a record called “Outerspace” where I actually sang the whole song top to bottom with autotune. That was my step into singing records and the record label came and told me that the shit was never going to work. Jay Z is right, Autotune is dead; it’s a wrap for that. It’s 2015 and it’s pretty hard to find a record on radio without Autotune on it. I’ve always been ahead of the curb with that. Charlie Walk when he was with Epic Records told me that he was never going to worry about me because you know melody. As long as you know melody, you’re going to be good. Shit, he was right.
DX: In your honest opinion, have you felt that the media hasn’t been fair to you?
Yung Berg: I used to feel that way. Now, I realize that I put myself on this platform. I’m able to be scrutinized where somebody is going to say something like I don’t like his hat, his teeth too big in his mouth right now, he crazy, I hate him, I love him, I want to fuck him, I don’t like him. It comes with the territory. As long as you’re talking. It’s funny I ran into Chingy while in Atlanta at this bar. He said what’s up and I responded that I was going through these trials and tribulations. He said, don’t worry when they’re talking about you, worry when they’re not talking about you.