by Minister of Information JR Valrey
Hunters Point has always been a cauldron for Bay Area talent, but it has been rare until rather recently that the neighborhood’s artists have begun to get their just due of recognition on the Northern California music scene. Yung Lott is a veteran Hunters Point wordsmith that I had heard about prior to me meeting him.
I was introduced to his music in Ghana while I was on tour as a road manager with Tony, Toni, Tone and Yung Lott’s former 83 group member, Keidra, last year. While on our long drives from venue to venue, she played a lot of 83’s music, which is where I discovered Lott’s ability to create catchy lines, get in the pocket on the beat, and give memorable ad libs among other things.
So when Hunters Point rapper Footz told me that he wanted to introduce me to Lott officially, I knew that it was the right time for Lott and myself to work on an interview to expose the world to one of San Francisco’s hidden jewels. So check out this exclusive interview, and hear Yung Lott in his own words.
JR Valrey: What’s the story behind how you got into music? How did you get your rap name?
Yung Lott: I was born and raised in San Francisco, by way of Hunters Point. I got my name from the streets I grew up in by being a young, ambitious hustler. From washing cars, to getting studio time, to working with the youth, cultivating programs and giving back, I did a lot coming up. So that’s how I got my name by doing “A Lot.”
JR Valrey: How did your recent single that you just dropped featuring E-40, Black C and Mitchy Slick come about? Why did you pick them to be on it?
Yung Lott: Well first off, GOD and perseverance. But to be honest, I’ve known all these legends for a long time. I have relationships with all these artists, and over the years, we have worked on projects and songs together.
But how I got E-40 to get on this record, was through my big cuzzin T-Animal, major salute to The Desperados. I reached out to Black C myself and told him I needed his presence on this record as well, and it was only right because I just came back from San Andreas with him, doing a show that he put me on with. Also that’s the big homie from my neighborhood. I grew up on RBL Posse.
Mitchy Slick is family also. Hunters Point is like Slick’s second home, fareal. It’s always been nothing but love for the homie from Daygo, major salute to the whole Daygo and my Lincoln Park Homies, and I can’t forget about my brothers who helped me paint “The Picasso,” The Mekanix, my brothers 4Rax and Tweed, Oakland’s finest.
JR Valrey: How has being from Hunters Point affected the sound of your music?
Yung Lott: Man, a lot of everything that you hear in my music is Hunters Point; from the experiences, to wanting to do and live better, to trying to find better solutions for problems that we all face in our community: from police harassment, to the killings of our young Black man, to seeing people like myself, RBL Posse, Guce, Herm Lewis, Cardel Butler, Raquel Miller, Jerry Mixon and a bunch of others gain national attention and make it out of a place many don’t make it out from.
JR Valrey: Can you talk about your album that you are about to drop on Dec. 12? What does it sound like vocally? What does the production sound like?
Yung Lott: Quality first and foremost; I’m big on that. I come from two radios and just a red record button, in the basement of an abandoned Mazda, trying to make music, to being in the biggest recording studios ever from San Francisco to Los Angeles, Atlanta and Dallas, Texas. But to keep a long story short, this EP that I am dropping is called “Lott Season.” Why? Because it’s the time of the year and month that I was born. The 12th is the day I hit Planet Earth.
Man, a lot of everything that you hear in my music is Hunters Point – from the experiences.
This album will bring you the raw and authentic sound of the streets of San Francisco, through the eyes of a king who saw it all and experienced it. I made mistakes and learned from them and am continuing to grow as a man and a father throughout all the adversity and hardship this game has come with. I will not take no for an answer on getting my respect and what I deserve.
JR Valrey: Can you describe your creative process? Do you get up every day and write, or how does it work?
Yung Lott: To be honest I don’t write any more. Everything lately has been a punch in technique that I learned from recording music over the years and trying different things. But if I do write, trust me it will be even more of a massacre on the paper or record.
JR Valrey: A few years back, you were recording a video with Hunters Point rappers on top of the hill, and the SFPD put everybody under arrest for two hours for no reason. What’s the status of the lawsuits that y’all had filed?
Yung Lott: To be honest, it was some bullshit, excuse my language. I know this is the Bay View paper but If I can’t be me, then what can I be? The suit was thrown out, because the judge said that the SFPD had probable cause due to a murder that took place in that location weeks before the video shoot.
But if you ask me, that was just another way for them to get in our business and hold us against our will. But we’re on to the next; it is what it is. They’re not stopping nothing God got in the works for us.
JR Valrey: As a veteran Frisco rapper, how does it feel to see San Francisco holding the Hip-Hop title, leading the Bay Area Hip Hop sound?
Yung Lott: It’s always a pleasure to know that San Francisco is getting recognized for our sound and what we bring to the culture, because we don’t get enough credit as much as I think we should. But that would happen if more of us San Francisco artists collaborated and pulled for one another.
JR Valrey: Where do you see yourself as an artist in five years?
Yung Lott: Still doing what I do, just on the charts more. And I will be recognized for the talent and work that I put in and gave to this culture for these years that I have been in this music industry. But we are going to continue to flood like we’ve been doing, forever living out our dreams like a real king.
JR Valrey: Will you, Keidra and King Tut, otherwise known as the rap group 83, ever record together?
Yung Lott: Man, that was something special that we had going. I love where we were taking music. It was kind of a breath of fresh air. We have some good records that were never released. So eventually we will all have to come together when the time is right.
JR Valrey: How can people hear your music and purchase your music? How can people keep up with you online?
Yung Lott: All you gotta do is search Yung Lott – that’s Yung with a “U” and No “O”! – on all music platforms. Go subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow me on all social media sites @Yunglott_Flood. I appreciate you, JR The Minister of Info, and my brother Footz the Beast for setting me up with you to make this happen. I’ve been in Hunters Point my whole life, and I’m just now getting into the Bay View newspaper. It’s crazy, but it’s all love.
JR Valrey, journalist, author, filmmaker and founder of Black New World Media, heads the SF Bay View’s Oakland Bureau. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Facebook. Visit www.BlackNewWorldMedia.com to read more.