It’s easy to understand why Pharrell Williams named his festival Something in the Water. Virginia has highkey been the birthplace of some of the most iconic voices in entertainment. The roster of legendary artists hailing from Virginia includes Skateboard P’s production crew, The Neptunes, Missy Elliott, Ella Fitzgerald, Timbaland, Chris Brown and others. Veteran rapper Pusha T is another popular artist with roots in VA. Even though he was born in New York, it was Virginia where he was raised. The rapper who has delivered platinum hits and some of hip-hop’s hardest bars as a part of The Clipse and as a solo artist is now helping to usher in the next wave of Virginian talent. One of Pusha’s most recent contributions to the culture has been guiding the career of Yvngxchris.
Going Viral? Yvngxchris is Over It
At 17 years old, Yvngxchris is one of the most interesting artists to emerge out of Virginia in recent years. The Chesapeake, Virginia native’s first taste of viral fame came in late 2020 when songs like “Did You Know (Remix)” and “Kyrie Irving” started trending on TikTok. It wasn’t long before he was going viral again with more TikTok hits such as “blood on the leaves.” A year later, he dropped "bitch i'm joe biden." The Lil B-esque track that popped off on the short-form video app has now been streamed more than nine million times.
Now signed to Columbia Records, Yvngxchris has more than 1.4M Tiktok followers and over 1.3 million monthly listeners on Spotify. He’s also received cosigns from Pusha (his manager), PnB Rock and Lil Yachty, who appears on the single “DAMN HOMIE.” The Lil Boat-assisted banger with its 1,471,266 Youtube views is featured on Chris’ recently released 8-song EP VIRALITY.
ONE37pm recently caught up with the Everyone Hates Chris! rapper to chat about his project virality, the influence of Lil B and being managed by Pusha T.
ONE37pm: Why did you name the project VIRALITY?
Yvngxchris: One day I was about to post a little Instagram flick. I couldn't think of a caption or anything. This was like around the time, like “blood on the leaves” was going crazy and shit. And I'm having all these songs go stupid at this time. I had like three songs go viral, so I was like, yo, I'm going so stupid. I'm like viral as fuck. Like I'm viral. I thought to myself like what is the fact of being viral? I looked it up. I said, yo, is virality a word? I looked that shit up. I was like, yeah, this shit is a word. I captioned the picture “virality” and I was like, I just kept riding with the viralness. I just kept going viral, so I was like, you know, I'm gonna name my tape virality.
ONE37pm: Creatively, what were some of the inspirations behind VIRALITY?
Yvngxchris: I'll say Dylvinci, he's a producer. He was a big inspiration for the project. Like he helped me tap into different things. He made the tape more available to a wider audience. I would say Dylvinci helped a lot with that. Yeah, he was like one of my main inspirations for the tape and for my next one too. He's crazy. He's a crazy producer.
ONE37pm: What's one thing you want new fans to take away from VIRALITY?
Yvngxchris: That there's more coming, you know what I'm saying? Most of the songs on the tape were recorded last year, so this is like old Yvngxchris. I ain't even gonna lie. I'm putting out old Yvngxchris. Y’all still haven't even heard 2022 Yvngxchris for real. They still listening to 2021, honestly. Like, this shit viral is fucked. That's why it's called virality. It's viral, but it's not up to date yet and the next one will be up to date.
ONE37pm: What has it been like working with Pusha T?
Yvngxchris: Great! I mean, he's that guy, you know what I'm saying? Like, he's like a mentor, a brother, a dad— all three. It's amazing to have both of my managers with me, Dre and Pusha T.
ONE37pm: With all of the legendary artists coming out of Virginia, is there an added pressure for you to live up to that?
Yvngxchris: Yeah. It's pressure for sure, but like I don't feel no type of way. I feel like I'm gonna be just as great, if not better than those people, you know what I'm saying?
ONE37pm: You knew “Bitch I'm Joe Biden” was going to go up while you were still recording it. What was it about that record that made you so confident in it?
Yvngxchris: It was just like how I constructed the sample and how the beat just came together and how I hopped on that shit. It was just like full Yvngxchris. That was like the most Yvngxchris song I ever made. I don't know how to describe it other than that. But like, I feel like that's like my theme song. Like when you think of Yvngxchris, you think of “bitch on Joe Biden.” You know what I'm saying? It's just like a unique track. I don't know. It's just like the sample brings it to life for real. That was the first record that really kind of like, truthfully put me on.
ONE37pm: Was Lil B or his music any type of influence on you?
Yvngxchris: As of recently. Yeah, because I started learning about it, like how he really was like the first to be on some ignorant shit, just like rapping. And that shit was like cool as fuck to me. And then like really listening to his music. It's like funny as fuck, but I like that it's catchy at the same time. Like you can easily catch onto it. So yeah, for sure. I was very inspired by that. I sampled “Bitch I’m Bill Clinton” and I just thought that beat was just insane. I feel like he has crazy production also along with his music, so had to sample it.
ONE37pm: Growing up, who were you listening to?
Yvngxchris: I would say a lot of Lil Wayne. A lot of like Andre 3000, TPain— that's where I first heard autotune and shit, like TPain. Just like the shit my mom and dad used to play around the crib. Hella R&B, like Adele. Like, I would just pick up on different music shit from them. And then I dove into like my own little style after that, you know what I'm saying? Like underground music and all that.
ONE37pm: Speaking about the underground, your early recording process was definitely very underground vibes in terms of you using the Track Studio app and your phone to record. Now that you signed with a label and you have a huge following— has your recording process changed?
Yvngxchris: It did change like a little bit, because I go in the studio now, you know what I'm saying? Like back then I just recorded from home. Now I go in the studio. I used to hate going in the studio, but I actually like going in the studio now because like it's just like a different vibe now that I’m getting used to it. But like I say no, because when I go back to the crib, I record on the same preset and the same mic that I used from back in the day. But like, I just upgraded my equipment recently. I just got some speakers and shit and got me, like a little Midi, piano and shit. I still use the same recording software. I record on the FL Studio now.
ONE37pm: You said that you hated the studio experience in the beginning. Why was that?
Yvngxchris: I wasn't comfortable, you know? And then I had to learn that you can't be comfortable to really win, so I had to get out of that. I had to get out of my comfort zone a little bit. And then once I started making hits, like “Damn Homie,”— like I recorded “Damn Homie” in the studio. I recorded “Oh Boy” in the studio— both over a million streams. And I was like, yeah, I could do this shit. So I like it better now.
ONE37pm: Prior to rapping you were doing comedy. What was the transition like from doing comedy skits on TikTok to posting your music?
Yvngxchris: Honestly, bro that transition was good, bro. Like I really had the plan since the beginning, but like unconsciously. Like I was doing the comedy shit and then I got a little following, like 2000 followers off that shit. I was like, oh shit, this TikTok shit kind of easy. I ain't going to lie. So I was like, all right, man, I'm going to put my music on this motherfucker. Like one day it just went from straight comedy videos and then I just posted “Kyrie Irving” and that shit went up and I was like, alright, fuck comedy. I'm doing this music shit straight.
ONE37pm: Do you see yourself ever tapping back into comedy?
Yvngxchris: People always comment on my videos asking for me to bring back the comedy videos, but I don't know. I don't think I'm funny anymore, bro. That was like old Chris, when I didn't have shit. I was trying to go up trying to be funny and shit. I don't think I'm funny anymore. I don't know.
ONE37pm: Rumor has it that you may be working on Everybody Hates Chris 2. Is that true?
Yvngxchris: It was like a little idea that was like prior to virality, but like I do plan on coming out with Everyone Hates Chris 2. Everybody loves the first Everyone Hates Chris.
ONE37pm: What project are you currently working on?
Yvngxchris: I don't have a name for it, but like, I just have like a direction for it. I want people to get to know me, you know? Like get to know my story and get to know why Yvngxchris is here, what did I do to get here, what struggles did I get through to get here— all this shit. You know what I'm saying? I just want fans to get to know more about me. Tell my story.
ONE37pm: What's the biggest difference between old Yvngxchris and new Yvngxchris?
Yvngxchris: I feel like new Yvngxchris is smarter. He knows how to move. He knows more about the music business. He's more tapped into different genres. He doesn't cap rap anymore [laughs]. I used to cap rap like crazy. I know he doesn't cap rap anymore.