Beyond MTV – Young Fatal Raps to a New Beat

By/Por Leah Bergman

Photo Credits:  Leah Bergman

 

Give him a beat and he gives you a rap on the spot.  We had just finished eating lunch and were walking out of the restaurant when I gave MTV rapping sensation Young Fatal a challenge.  To my delight (and those within ear shot), he gladly met my challenge with a rap that sums up what he is about—dedication, dedication to his craft and to his sweet daughter, Roslyn Faith.

Earlier in his life, he sang a different tune.  Young Fatal talks about how he got involved with the wrong crowd.  He said, “I was surrounded by a bunch of gangsters.  I never joined, but acted like it.”   He continued with, “I was around them.  I was moving in a negative route, and I was in the wrong crowd attracted by the wrong type of people.”

Young Fatal was suspended from two high schools for fighting.  He said, “I got in trouble being around the wrong crowd.  The ‘in crowd’ is not always the right crowd.” Eventually, his parents had to put him into boot camp.

He describes his family life as dysfunctional.  “It got really ugly. My dad was drinking and drugging and running the streets being gone for days at a time, weeks at a time.”

Thankfully, his father was able to turn his life around when Young Fatal was four or five years old and has been sober ever since. He even went to school and received his master’s degree.  “My dad is a smart educated man.  He got caught up in the wrong things, and it took hold of his life.”

Even though his parents were able to work out their differences after his father was clean, Young Fatal still felt that his family life was lacking. “I didn’t have that support like a normal family would have,” said Young Fatal.  He attributes this lack for luring him towards the street.  “In a way, {I was} looking for a family… source of acceptance.”

Young Fatal on the set of the Miss Hip Hop Music video.

His being overweight as a kid also added to his deep need for acceptance.  He was bullied and teased. “That’s when I became the class clown to take the attention off of myself by making people laugh.  That’s when I became juvenile making fun of my school teacher and not doing my work,” He said and continued with, “I became a follower to try to fit in with people, so I could be accepted.”

He describes his life going down a dark road. “I was very sinful and very selfish- drugs, alcohol, women. My lifestyle was not in the light.  I was living in the flesh and not for God.”

While on this road, he became inspired by the rapper Notorious B.I.G.’s song “Juicy”.  “It just inspired me his word play, and the way he was expressing his life,” said Young Fatal.  He was moved by Notorious’ struggle and how he came from the streets and a negative upbringing.  Young Fatal said, “It really grabbed a hold of me and I wanted to do that.  I had a lot on my chest that I wanted to get off of my chest—stress, my family situation being broken.  I wanted to be loved and accepted. That was one of the main issues that I was having.”

Young Fatal started battle rapping (two rappers going back and forth making fun of each other in rhymes) people in high school.  He started meeting people and ran into a producer named Riddles. They started working together and Riddles became Young Fatal’s main producer. “He got behind me and started pushing me; He believed in me.“

Young Fatal on the set of Miss Hip Hop Music Video with 323 Area Kidz, award winning dance group

All of the hard work started paying off.  “Finally, I got on the radio,” said Young Fatal.  It was at this point in his career that he had his big break through. “The whole planking thing was getting big… It was getting a lot of recognition.  It was on NBC, and a lot of people were doing it,” he said and continued with, “This planking is a phenomenon and I had an idea.  I called him on the phone, ‘Riddles bro, we gotta’ make this beat about planking.  I want to make fun of it.’”

They made the song in two days and uploaded it on YouTube. While he was at a video shoot, Young Fatal was playing the song on his phone when a preproduction guy heard it.  He liked it and called his partner, who was a big player in the music industry. “A couple minutes later he comes back out and he’s like, ‘My friend checked you out on YouTube and he really wants to meet with you guys. He wants you in his office Monday morning.’”

“The first song we ever made.  The first song Riddles ever put out. The first song we even did together.  He was always just behind the scenes in my production.  The first song and we got signed within two days of making the song. It was crazy!” said Young Fatal.

The group West Republic was formed and it seemed like his dreams were coming true. “We were doing radio interviews. We were on several radio stations. We were already on the Power 106 tour… The MTV thing was going, and we had another video getting ready to go to MTV on an actual network,” he said.

In the midst of all this fame and success he was still broke. “Everyone thought…I had millions of dollars. Everyone kept coming up to me and asking me for money thinking I was very successful.  In the public eye we were, but financially I wasn’t,” said Young Fatal.

He started having friends in the industry look at the contract and point out some loopholes.  “Being ignorant we went to the office young and hungry.  They take advantage of people that don’t have the knowledge in the industry,” he said.  His advice to young artists is, “Watch what you sign and always have a lawyer present.”

Young Fatal with his daughter Roslyn Faith (Photo Credits: Splendid Studio Booth)

Young Fatal started pointing out flaws in the contract and how some obligations in the contract were not being met.  He said, “Things went downhill, as far as the group. He [music producer] pulled us off of the radio. He closed the doors he had opened for us. He called us defiant. He called us uncoachable.”

His life went on an immediate downward spiral.  He went from being a celebrity to being homeless. “I was living in the car for a couple of months. Things were really ugly.  I felt that everyone turned their back on me,” he said.

“That’s when I found God, really.  Sadly it took that far, but that’s what it was.  I was tired of living that way and I had daughter.  I felt like a failure as a father,” he said and continued with, “It touched my soul and I really surrendered.”

Young Fatal – Miss Hip Hop – LWR Exclusive from LatinoWeeklyReview on Vimeo.

 

His life then started to slowly turn around. He said, “I look at it that everything happens for a reason. The reason the group didn’t work is because it wasn’t the direction God had for me.  It was a sinful direction.  It was definitely the party crew- get drunk, smoke, sexist towards women, degrading.  It was that lifestyle.”

Now that he is on the rise to the top again, Young Fatal is hoping to bring a positive message to the youth. He said, “Try to be the best person you can be… Try to care for other people.  Nowadays, people don’t care about other people. It is a really selfish, cold world.  Everyone is out for themselves, but it doesn’t have to be that way.”

“You don’t have to go the negative route in order to find happiness.  You will find more happiness in God then you will with any drug, any sex, any alcohol, or any negative thing.  There is more happiness and more fulfillment by having God near you and his Holy Spirit.  The presence will lift all the weight off your shoulders that you would need for a drug or alcohol.  Whatever fix you would need to try to cope with that – God is the answer to those questions,” he said.

Young Fatal went from a troubled youth to a man who is responsible and full of promise. His poetic verses still beat to the sound of the streets, but now he hopes it will touch the lives of America’s youth with a positive message of hope.

© 2013 Leah Bergman

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