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Young Riot: From The Bottom To The Top
By: Todd Davis

Founded in 2006, Amalgam Digital is a one-stop urban music wholesaler, record label, and distribution company, that also offers additional services; including, management, booking, consultation, manufacturing, marketing, and promotional campaigns. Since its inception, Amalgam Digital has been home to such well known artists as; Max B, Saigon, Curren$y, Joe Budden, Peedi Crakk, Tash {formerly of Tha Liks}, Kurious, one-time Artifacts' member, Tame One, The Juggaknots, and DJ Benzi.

Amalgam Digital's brand new discovery, Boston, Massachusetts, bred emcee, Young Riot, a.k.a. 'Mr. I'm So Yes,' is their very first artist that has not been previously signed -- So, kick back and get to know him...

"I have a game plan of how I want to maneuver in this game. But as a whole, I feel like the industry is in a strange place. I feel like things have been bombarded with mix-tapes and oversaturation. Some people are satisfied where they at, and some people are making good money, but where I’m going I see myself in the same space as a Weezy
and Jay (Z)

When did you first become interested in music?

I have always been a fan of music, since I was young. But as I got older, I started having an emotion for music, listening to lyrics and using music as way of coping with the stress happening in my life.

And, at what point did you actually start taking your craft more seriously?

One day I was sitting in the crib and I was listening to Mobb Deep. I had their CD single, you know how they used to come with the main, radio edit, and the instrumental? I wrote to the instrumental, and I actually remixed the Prodigy verse. And, I thought if I can remix a verse, I can write my own verse. My pops had a little recorder, so that’s how I started. Ever since then, it was like, "I have to write!"

You hail from Boston, MA, correct?

Yeah, Dorchester to be exact. I grew up in the Franklin Hill Projects off of Blue Hill Avenue. I grew up in the 'hood, in the heart of the city.

So, growing up in Beantown, who all exactly influenced your sound and style?

I grew up around the O.G.’s, and I’ve seen a lot of negative things. I’ve seen the drugs, the addiction, the prostitutes, and been around the guns and the kids going to school with the hammers. When I saw all that, it motivated me to want to get out of that. I wasn’t tryna live like that. That’s when I decided I was going all in on this rap shit.

With that being said, describe for me your overall musical vibe?

My vibe is one that fits the mood I’m in. I make music that reflects the things I’m going through, and in turn people can relate to the good times and the bad. I can’t fake the funk. I have to stay (one) hundred with myself. My music is a reflection of me.

Tell me where your moniker, Young Riot, a.k.a. "Mr. I'm So Yes," originally derived from?

My name came from the 'hood. I didn’t make up the name "Riot," that was given to me. My ni99as gave me the name!

What series of events actually led to your current inking to Amalgam Digital?

I was fan of Max (B) and his music, (and) when I heard him starting to shout out Amalgam Digital I was like, "What’s Amalgam?" So, I did my research to find out more about them, and the more I learned the more I liked what they were doing. So, I uploaded my music using the User Generated Content Module on their site. Once they heard my music, they pulled it from the site and contacted me about signing with them.

Your lead single, "Cream Of The Crop (Mr. Clean)," is starting to make quite a bit of noise -- Did you expect such a strong response so fast?

I’m getting a lot of love for that video, which I appreciate. I wanted to come out with visuals, so people could get to know me and my story. I’m more than just music, and wanted to release quality videos to reflect that.

Conceptually, what's "Cream Of The Crop (Mr. Clean)" all about? And, how did it even come about?

The song is about rising from the bottom to the top. The video for "Cream of the Crop" was directed by James Del Gatto. It’s my introduction to the game and signing with Amalgam Digital, told through a narrative. That shit is (a) movie. If you haven’t checked it out, make sure you do.

Have you even titled your forthcoming solo debut yet?

I have a lot of things going on right now. I’m working behind the scenes building up my clothing line, Y.O.M.P., and I’m not really concerned with the pressure other artists face with the idea of having to record an album. I think a lot of artists put that pressure on themselves. I wanted to take another route, as opposed to releasing a bunch of random tracks and mix-tapes, and want to show the world my story through visuals -- Through these music videos I’m doing. But, I am finishing up Glory Ave., which will be a full length body of work. I also have Studio Sessions finished, which is the album that I uploaded to (the) Amalgam Digital store before they heard that and signed me. That might come out, too. I have recorded over 300 songs since I been signed with Amalgam Digital. And, Glory Ave. represents all of that. It’s the path, the journey to where I am going. Success. And, success will be making that classic, timeless Hip-Hop that reaches a large audience.

Who all did you enlist in regards to the album's production?

I got my guy, Whitey, on there producing most of Glory Ave.. DJ Next did the "So Wavy" joint, but that’s the single to the mix-tape I got with Max B called A Wave Called Yes. My guy, DJ Si, also makes some beats. It’s that Amalgam Digital sound -- We make great music together.

Are there any special cameos to look out for?

Right now, it’s mostly just Riot. I’m tryna show you me and my story. I’m working on showing you the story through the videos right now, showing you what it is I’m about and where I’m going. So far, I collaborated a lot with Max B, also Curren$y, and Chester French on this track for DJ Benzi, but that’s mostly all mix-tape tracks. (More) cameos will be coming in time though.

Do you have any personal fave track(s)?

I’d be here all day if I named all my favorites. But, one song I’m feeling right now is called “Gift of the Gab.” It hasn’t come out yet. I always had the Gift of Gab, and it’s taken me a lot of places. I came from the 'hood, and I’m gonna keep driving. I’m digging that track a lot right now.

What has been the key to your success thus far?

The key to my success is me being up to date, and me keeping my ear to what’s going on and not getting lost in the sauce. I gotta study and stay on point to always being on top of my game. My ability to listen, think, and learn fast.

You also mentioned your fledgling apparel line, Y.O.M.P. [Y.es O.n M.y P.lanet] -- Can you tell me all about this venture...

Yeah, Y.O.M.P. that’s my new clothing line. Y.O.M.P. is a reflection of everything I went through that made me who I am. The clothing is about feeling yes and looking yes. Yes is a positive emotion. A positive state. Being Yes is for anyone who wants to be, feel, and think positive.

Besides music & clothing, is there anything else that you'd like to get involved in or with?

I’m interested in setting up and running businesses. I got some good ideas. I’d also like to get into acting. I’ve been told I’m a great actor. I’ve been through a lot as a young dude. I’m tryna chill, man.

On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of Hip-Hop?

Personally, I have a game plan of how I want to maneuver in this game. But as a whole, I feel like the industry is in a strange place. I feel like things have been bombarded with mix-tapes and oversaturation. Some people are satisfied where they at, and some people are making good money, but where I’m going I see myself in the same space as a Weezy and Jay (Z). I’m working and making progression everyday to make sure I get there.

Everyone either knows your music already, or will become familiar with it soon enough, but who exactly is Young Riot?

Young Riot is a young African American dude who grew up in the 'hood, who’s tryna make a way and has his eyes set on changing the world.

And, what exactly do you like to do in your spare time, completely away from this music?

Not much spare time right now. I’m grinding 24/7/365 right now. I’m also into fashion and staying ahead of the curve on trends. But when I do get some free time, I’m usually doing the things most young men my age would enjoy doing.

Ultimately, what is your 5 to 10 year plan in entertainment?

The grand definitive purpose is to be very wealthy. To a point where my family don’t have to worry, and the people around me that I decide to take care of will be good. I’m going to leave my mark in the world, and I’m retiring into the 'Hall of Fame' when it’s all said and done.

As for now though, your first single and video, "Cream Of The Crop (Mr. Clean)," is out now and doing extremely well for you! Your solo debut is due out when exactly?

I got a lot of music. I got that mix-tape (that) dropped on May 25th, with DJ Next and Max B, called A Wave Called Yes. The buzz single from that is “So Wavy,” which we shot the video for. There is also going to be a volume two to that, subtitled The Path To Glory Ave., but those are DJ Next mix-tapes with Max B. My own solo debut Glory Ave., is on course to drop in (late) July/August.

And, are there any plans to tour behind it all?

I’ve done a lot of shows in the past year, and I’ll keep Y’all up to date on tour dates at: myspace.com/ImSoYes, and Twitter @YoungRiotSoYes.

What's that "live" show element like?

Oh, man, I love live shows, man! I always get excited before a show, because I love giving the crowd my energy and they usually react to it. I get to show you this is what I do. My shows are high energy, and I put thought into the sets. I’m planning to start adding more elements to my live shows soon...It’s all yes!

Are there any other mix-tape(s) or cameos on others works to look out for from you in the meantime?

(Like I said,) A Wave Called Yes (dropped) May 25th, with Max B and DJ Next. We got Curren$y on there. Get ready for Glory Ave., that’s on the way as well -- I’mma keep you updated.

Is there anything else that I may have left out or forgot to ask you about?

Stay updated with me on Twitter @YoungRiotSoYes. I’ll be dropping more videos. Next up, are two crazy videos I just shot for "Yes@Me," which is a single from Glory Ave., and “Wait For Me,” which is another track off Studio Sessions.

Sadly on, now nearly one year-to-the-date, Thursday June 25th 2009, the world lost the greatest entertainer who ever lived -- What was your first reaction upon hearing the tragic news? How does Michael Jackson’s untimely passing affect, not only you, but, music in general? And, in the wake of his demise, what does this mean for the future of recorded music?

It’s crazy when something like that happens. He was the King of this entertainment shit!

Any message for our readers?

I’m here, and my gang's here, and we ain't going anywhere -- Amalgam Digitaaaaal! Y.O.M.P. Yes @ Me!

Thanks for taking your time out with me today, good luck with the album, and continued success to you!

Yes, Sir, good looking out my guy!


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