NBA YoungBoy has confessed that being on house arrest in Utah, where he has been for over a year, has changed his perspective on life and music.
The Baton Rouge native covers the latest issue of Billboard, and in the accompanying feature, told the magazine: “This is the best thing that ever happened to me.”
“I’m very scared right now,” he said later in the article. “It’s just natural. I’m not big on people. I never knew why once I walked on the stage, I could get it done and leave — but I am terrified of people. People are cruel. This is a cruel place.
He added: “You’ve got to be thankful for it. It’s very beautiful, you know? There’s so much you can experience inside of it. But it is a very cruel place. And it’s not my home.”
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In October 2021, YoungBoy, who was facing two federal gun charges at the time, was released on $1.5million bail and strict house arrest conditions. The terms of his release prohibit him from going past the end of his driveway and limit him to three visitors at a time, outside of his wife, one of his producer and his business manager, who also share his home.
During the interview, the rapper (real name Kentrell Gaulden) explained that he fell in love with Utah when he first visited the state as part of a youth outreach group. “When I got here, it was always my goal: I’m going to move here,” he said. “I’m going to have a home here. This is where my family is going to be.”
Since returning, the I Rest My Case hitmaker has had a change of faith, both from a musical standpoint and a religious one. He revealed to Billboard that he plans to become a Mormon, crediting the Christian theology with helping pull him out of a dark place after being visited by missionaries while on house arrest in Utah.
YoungBoy said he instinctively turned them away the first time they appeared on his doorstep, before having second thoughts and welcoming them into his home.
“I wanted help very badly. I needed a friend. And it hit me,” he admitted. “It was just cool to see someone with a different mindset that had nothing to do with business or money — just these wonderful souls.”
The missionaries then began visiting the rapper’s home every day, where they would engage in talks with him about The Book of Mormon and sought to “make sure” YoungBoy’s “heart was in the right space” for his official baptism into the church. He said he plans to become baptized into The Church of Latter-Day Saints after his house arrest is over.
“It was just cool to see someone with a different mindset that had nothing to do with business or money — just these wonderful souls,” he said of the missionaries.
As for the music, while he says he still finds it therapeutic, there’s a lot about the music business and the past content of his music that NBA YoungBoy is having second thoughts about.
“The music is therapy, but I can’t stop it when I want,” he stated. “And the lifestyle is just a big distraction from your real purpose. I’m at a point now in my life where I just know hurting people is not the way, and I feel very manipulated, even at this moment. I was set on being the greatest at what I did and what I spoke about. Man, I was flooded with millions of dollars from the time I was 16 all the way to this point, and I woke up one morning like, ‘Damn. They got me. They made me do their dirty work.’ Man, look at the sh-t I put in these people’s ears.”
He continued: “I think about how many lives I actually am responsible for when it comes to my music. How many girls I got feeling like if you don’t go about a situation that your boyfriend’s bringing on you in his way, you’re wrong? How many people have put this sh-t in their ears and actually went and hurt someone? Or how many kids felt like they needed to tote a gun and walked out the house and toted it the wrong way? Now he’s fixing to sit there and do years of his life that he can’t get back.”
While he plans on shifting towards more positive content, YoungBoy admits that it may take him a while to get there. “I was brought up around a lot of f–ked-up sh-t — that’s what I knew, and that’s what I gave back to the world. I was like, ‘F–k the world before they f–k you.’ I was a child, you know? And now I know better, so it ain’t no excuse at all for how I carry on today.”
“It took lots of time to make my music strong enough to get it to where I could captivate you. I promise to clean whatever I can clean, but it’s going to take time, just like it took time for me to get it to that point. I was wrong. And I’m sorry.”
His output of music doesn’t seem to be slowing down though. The 23-year-old has already started working on his sixth studio album, Don’t Try This at Home.
His last project, I Rest My Case, arrived last month and already saw him toying with less violent lyrics. The project debuted at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 after moving 29,000 copies in its first week.
I Rest My Case marked YoungBoy’s ninth project in just over a year, as he’s remained on a tear with new tunes since being found not guilty in his federal gun case back in July.