Young this, Lil' that, MC whoever. In hip-hop, the moniker often packs as much punch as the artist's lyrics. Take Jay-Z, (Sdot, Jigga, Hov) or any member of the Wu-Tang Clan (Ghostface Killah: Tony Starks, Wally Champ, Iron Man). Despite over-use (and various spellings) of "Young," all prefixes are not created equal. In honor of Young Jeezy's upcoming show in Denver, we've compiled this guide of every "Young" MC you should be familiar with.
Young Bleed Home town: Baton Rouge, Louisiana Real name: Glenn Clifton Jr. Best song: "How You Do That" This youngster is based out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. You might remember him from the days when Master P. was running the game with his No Limit Soldiers. His track "How You Do That" was later remixed by Percy and company.
Yung Joc Home town: Atlanta, Georgia Real name: Jasiel Robinson Best song: "It's Goin' Down" This young guy made it expressely clear that regardless of where you find him, be it the mall, the trap house, your mama's house, it's going down. For a moment, Yung Joc, under the Bad Boy imprint, gave the South its swagger back and his then-boss Puffy notable cred in the streets of Atlanta.
Young Dro Home town: Bankhead, Georgia Real name: D'Juan Hart Best song: "Shoulder Lean." Ah, Dro, the young'un under TI's Grand Hustle label who brought a significant amount of bounce to the streets with his track "Shoulder Lean." While the song is pretty stupid, Dro did make a name for himself with his deep Southern drawl. Then TI went to jail, and you know the rest.
Young Jeezy Home town: Macon, Georgia Real name: Jay Wayne Jenkins Best song: "My President Is Black" The raspy, visceral punch in Jeezy's voice would have you believe he's had that depth in tone since he was a young tyke. Instead, Jeezy's tales of cocaine sales and street life are catapulted by his thorough and raw style of rapping. Arguably, Atlanta's hottest rapper.
Young Buck Home town: Nashville, Tennessee Real name: David Darnell Brown Best song:"Let Me In" Oh, boy. Buck was doing just fine while he was rapping alongside Curtis Jackson. They were doing shows, recording albums, and next thing you know, Buck is crying to 50 about his money woes and wavering loyalty. Dry your friggin eyes, young one, and buck up! There was a time when Buck was a viable rapper. There was a time, indeed.
Yung Berg Home town: Chicago, Illinois Real name: Christian Ward Best song: "Sexy Can I" This young kid has always pretty much been a clown, from his disparaging comments about women to his inability to keep his chain out of the hands of others. One thing's for sure: Whatever you think about his gift of gab, he chooses suitable collaborators -- especially Ray-J, on tracks like "Sexy Can I."
Young Gunz Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Real name: Chris Ries and Hanif Muhammad Best song: "Can't Stop, Won't Stop" Remember when Roc-a-fella Records consisted of the hottest and most promising rappers in the game? We don't, either, but what we do remember is the Young Gunz, aka, Chris and Neef. Both have gone on to handle solo careers, but there was a time when the duo was the most auspicious collaboration rap had seen in a while. Remember "Can't Stop, Won't Stop?"
Yung LA Home town: Atlanta, Georgia Real name: Leland Austin Best song: "Ain't I" The second young'un on this list to come out of the Grand Hustle camp, Yung LA has since left the imprint, but not before leaving his mark on the industry with the club smash "Ain't I." We never got the opportunity to confirm what LA is or what he "ain't." The MC left the Grand Hustle label in early 2011.
Young Problemz Home state: Texas Real name: ??? Best song: "Boi" This problem child got a notable start by collaborating with Gucci Mane and Mike Jones on "Boi." A name like Young Problemz doesn't make for the best in stock portfolio, so we shouldn't expect to see this guy's face plastered on billboards in his home town, much less the Billboard charts, but his partners in rhyme certainly helped bolster his popularity.
Young Money Home town: All over: New Orleans, Toronto, Atlanta. Real name: Various artists, none of whom carry the stage name "Young." Best song: "Bedrock" More a crew of young hooligans than a solo act, this group was worth mentioning, for sure. The posse cuts seemed built specially for each MC and singer as they floated rhymes and simplistic lyrics into the atmosphere. Led by Lil Wayne, though, each Young Money move was a total hit.
Young Bloodz Home town: Atlanta, Georgia Real name: Jeffrey Ray Grigsby and Sean Paul Joseph Best song: "Damn" In this week's episode of Where Are They Now... Ah, we're just joshin.' The Young Bloodz were another duo who looked promising at the height and rise of crunk rap in the southernmost parts of the music world. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on whom you ask), "Damn" was about as hot as it got for these two.
Young Rome Home town: Los Angeles, California Real name: Jerome Isaac Jones Best song: "Freaky" Google this guy. Go on, we dare ya. Bet you didn't know he was one-third of Immature, later I'mMature, later...oh, who knows. Anyway, he was the young, fly cutie with the eye patch who was always slanging rhymes and being held up by Marques Houston and that other guy. He raps. You're welcome.
Yung Chris Home town: Decatur, Georgia Real name: Christopher Miller Best song: "Racks" Not to be confused with Chris of the Young Gunz, this guy goes by YC, and his hit song "Racks on Racks," hit the clubs harder than a summer storm in Miami. Who knows what the hell he's actually singing about in the verses -- but the hook goes harder than the pavement. So say the kids making this joint number one in radio these days.
Young Thug Home town: Atlanta, Georgia Real name: ??? Best song: "I Came From Nothing" Never heard of him? Us, either! Anyhow, this guy is from Atlanta and is mostly a young hustler who is out to tell his story and climb his way up the rap charts, just like every other young one.
Young Mayne Home town: Somewhere in Georgia Real name: n/a Best song: "iHustle" This young boy is one half of da Posta Boyz, and he has a song on YouTube called "iHustle." The most obvious trend among the young'uns seems to be the thrill of the hustle. Fast cars, fast women, and even faster money.
Young Cash Home town: Tallahassee, Florida Real name: n/a, but goes by Joey Galaxy Best song: "I'm a Hustla" Signed to T-Pain's Nappy Boy Entertainment and, like most of the roster, has mostly made headway in the industry with ring tones and sugary pop songs. Cash apparently goes by Joey Galaxy now, but he'll always be Young Cash to us.
Young Deenay Home town: Bandiagara, Mali Real name: Fatima Napo Best song: "Walk On By" This Malian hip-hop and rap artist studied psychology at the University of Frankfurt in Germany. According to her Wikipedia page, her single "Walk On By," out in 1997, reached the top five on the German charts and stayed there for fourteen weeks.
Young Malay Home town: Los Angeles Real name: Christopher Bellard Best song: "Too West Coast" Malay is a Gemini who hails from the streets of Los Angeles, and is apparently best known as the voiceover for a character in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Most notably, Malay was signed to Lench Mob Records alongside West Side Connection and others. Who knew?
Young MC Home town: Queens, New York, by way of South Wimbledon, London, England Real name: Marvin Young Best song: "Bust a Move" Don't even act like you didn't immediately "Bust a Move" at the mention of Young MC. After his album Stone Cold Rhymin', Young MC didn't do too much else that piqued as much interest as "Bust a Move," but he's the most well-known one-hit wonder on this list.
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Young Doe Home town, Denver, Colorado Real name: Charles McClure Best song: "Droptop" Also known as Charles Truth, Doe will be opening for Young Jeezy and representing for the city of Denver with his material from Rollin Stone. Doe is an author and experienced storyteller, regaling audiences with tales of street life and hood swagger. He'll help light up the Ogden Theatre with Jeezy next Tuesday.
I mean, we could go on and on over here, and that's with a simple Google search! The most noted name on that list belongs to one Young Jeezy, Atlanta's own, who will be swooping through Denver on 8/23/11 for what will likely be a packed house at the Ogden. Opening for Jeezy is his protege Freddie Gibbs and, of course, Young Doe.