December represents the 10th anniversary of The Pack’s From Skateboard To Scrapers EP featuring their breakout single “Vans.” By now, rap fans understand the narrative that happened afterward, including Lil B’s turn to arguably one of the internet generation’s most important individuals.
However, another member of The Pack has been making significant moves from behind the scenes.
“Vans” producer Young L for the past several years has garnered a lot of attention as the co-founder of much sought-after street apparel line Pink Dolphin and producer for rap heavyweights from Mac Miller to Freeway. Always one to show his versatility, he’s also managed to lend beats to RiFF RAFF and yes, Lil B.
“I grew up on all these different artists,” Young L said in an exclusive interview with HipHopDX. “A lot of times when I’m working with artists, I’m already a fan of them. Just the fact that I produced for so many different artists like Mac Miller or RiFF RAFF, it’s just off the fluke most of the time. I’ve been the type of artist where management never really worked for me. I was like fuck it. If I get with artists, I’m going to get with artists.”
Outside of producing, he’s also been building himself on the solo tip. Last year, Young L dropped the Final Fantasy mixtape. Before 2016 closes out, he’s back again with The Boo Tape.
“This is a short album or EP,” he explained. “I just called it a mixtape because my record label told me to do it because I hadn’t put out music in a minute. Outside of that, I would call it an album.”
He’s also taking a back-to-the-basics approach to his rhymes instead of following the popular rap trend of freestyling this time around. This is more apparent in the recently released single “Baller Blockin’.”
“My recording process has evolved to how I point to where I started writing,” he said. “It was a point where I freestyled everything. I would be punching in my freestyles. It’s kind of like I’m getting to my old style as far as how I’m coming on the track. I’m really coming on the track like this dude wrote the verse rather than making freestyles because I don’t have time to write a verse or I was too high to write a verse. I just wanted to give my fans the quality that they deserve.”
Similar to his Final Fantasy project and the collaborative Mario & Domo Vs. The World mixtape with Soulja Boy, The Boo Tape is video game inspired as well.
“I’m a big time gamer bro,” Young L explained as he listed his favorite titles such as Grand Theft Auto, Battlefield and Call of Duty. “When I wake up, I get to work in the studio so I need something to keep me relaxed. Sometimes I want to smack a nigga heavy in NBA 2K. It’s a great way to relieve my stress.”
Young L has come a long way from spending time in Atlanta learning the industry ropes from Too $hort, which is something he compares to a family-like experience.
“As far as advice, I couldn’t think of anything he told me, but I remember everything he did,” he said. “He showed me a lot as far as giving us an opportunity that we may not have had. That’s what I give him the most credit for. Coming from Berkeley, he made it so that we could make it.”
Though The Pack never made it past their second and final album The Wolfpack Party, it’s safe to say that Lil B became the breakout star. According to Young L, he is on good terms with The BasedGod and considers him a brother, though initially, it was difficult when solo careers came into play earlier on.
“I think when Lil B signed to SODMG, it made it a little more fun competition-wise for everyone,” he said. “When it first happened, I didn’t know how to deal with it because I was in the group at the time and we were trying to push the group. When it first happened, it was a little bit of difficulty seeing eye to eye. Afterward, we just figured out it was a part of the rap game. At a certain point, I respected it. It just took some time getting used to.”
As The Boo Tape nears its December 9 release date, it’s safe to call Young L a consistent veteran.
“I’ve been making music since I was 17,” he said. “I’m like in my mid-to-late 20s right now and just trying to make good music for my fans who have stood around.”