Beats, rhymes and life are three of the corners where hip hop intersects. Few other TV shows have been able to cover all of these angles in-depth and authentically quite like REVOLT TV’s “Drink Champs,” which thrives on its candid conversations with the biggest and most influential figures in the game. In honor of such a one-of-a-kind show, REVOLT will be recapping each weekly “Drink Champs” episode, so you can always catch the gems that are dropped in each lit interview.
Last night, the latest episode of “Drink Champs” aired on REVOLT TV with independent Memphis rapper Young Dolph joining Noreaga and DJ EFN to give fans the scoop on his past, present and future. A majority of rap fans may have recently discovered Dolph’s music due to his appearance on O.T. Genasis’ 2015 smash “Cut It,” as well as his collaborative mixtapes with the likes of Gucci Mane. However, the rapper has a full decade in the rap game under his belt with a fanbase built from the ground up. The CEO of Paper Route Empire, Young Dolph has made waves not only for his music, thanks to projects like King of Memphis, Gelato, Niggas Get Shot Everyday, and his recently released studio album, Role Model; but also for his business acumen, as the rapper is one of the few artists in the genre’s history to achieve the amount of success he has without ever signing a traditional record deal. While Young Dolph’s career has been plagued by beef and controversy, including multiple attempts on his life, he is undoubtedly one of the most popular rappers repping the streets with a future that looks more promising with every mixtape or album released.
To help give fans a recap of the conversation, REVOLT compiled a list of nine things we learned from the Young Dolph episode of “Drink Champs.” Take a look at them below.
1. Young Dolph Is Originally From The South Side of Chicago
Young Dolph is infamous for proclaiming himself as the “King of Memphis.” However, the rapper’s roots actually trace back to the state of Illinois. “I was born in Chicago. But, my grandma came and got me from Chicago when I was probably like two years old. That’s when I went to Memphis,” Dolph reveals during the outset of his conversation. As for the differences between Memphis and Chicago, Dolph feels they’re more similar than outsiders would think. “It’s really like the same thing,” Dolph says, adding, “Chicago is just bigger, that’s all.”
2. Why He Turned Down A $22 Million Record Deal
In August 2018, Young Dolph shocked rap fans with the revelation that he had turned down a recording contract worth $22 Million — an eye-popping figure, to say the least. When asked about the specifics of the deal and his decision, Dolph admitted that he has a bigger vision for his career. “It was a label deal,” Dolph explains. “It really was a good deal, a super good deal to tell you the truth. But, it’s just I see something else. I got something else on my mind, what I wanna do. But, at the same time, it wasn’t no wrong decision, whether I did it or didn’t do it. Ain’t no wrong decision because I know what I’m doing. I’m focused, I got a plan for this shit.” The rapper also mentions how the evolution of the music business and the direct to consumer relationship between the artist and the fan has also influenced his decision. “It’s always about ownership, like the game different now. It’s just like you (Noreaga) just said, when you dropped and you was going gold and you was doing this, doing that, it’s like it’s different now. Nowadays, it’s more like your fans got more access to the artist just like you got more access to the fans and you can do shit. You can spend your money, you can master the game, dawg. The business part of it, dawg, and really keep people out of your business as long as you want to, til you want to.”
3. How He Connected With DJ Scream
In an effort to jumpstart his career, Young Dolph says he made a trek to Atlanta to hook up with DJ Scream, who hosted the rapper’s debut mixtape, Paper Route Campaign. Dolph credits that experience with building his buzz in the south, which he shares during his sit-down. “Shit, I went to Atlanta and I was like, ‘I’m finna get ready to do it, I’m finna put together a real tape,’” Dolph recalls. “Went and got beats from everybody, all the hard producers. I got a feature from 2 Chainz, features from 8Ball & MJG, goddamn got Drumma Boy to produce some beats. I just put together a hard ass project and I was like, ‘I’m finna get ready to give myself a real shot and really see what this shit finna do’ and this shit was an instant [success]. I pressed up (CDs), the first order was 20,000; gave all the CDs away. Pressed up another 20,000; gave all the CDs away, you know what I’m saying? On my own. That was just my whole strategy, my whole thing was to get myself super hot, super fast. So, it’s shit, I’ll pull up in my coupe my goddamn self, giving away my own shit So, all of my boys know how dead serious I am. They like shit, they see me doing the shit. So, they’re just as serious as I am. So, I think that’s why that shit went like that.”
4. His Approach To Guiding The Career of Paper Route Empire Artist Key Glock
In 2017, Young Dolph expanded his Paper Route Empire roster, adding Memphis spitter Key Glock, who has built a considerable buzz of his own and positioned himself as one of the hottest talents out of the south. When asked about his plans for Key Glock’s future and whether it includes a major label deal or not, Young Dolph explains that the pair is playing the long game and are in no rush to ink any contracts or relinquish ownership or creative control. “Really, at the end of the day, Glock gonna always be more in control over his shit,” Dolph says. “It ain’t all about what I want, you know what I’m saying? If you pay attention, I treat Glock shit like a little bit more tender and closely and careful than I treat my own shit. I’m getting him instantly hot, super hot, fast. So it’s like… shit. Just to keep it 100, I don’t need ’em, he ain’t gon’ need ’em, you know what I mean? Glock ain’t just no rapper. He paying attention, and looking and seeing everything I’m doing and I’m teaching him as we go. So, he gonna be able to do the same thing, get his paper and make decisions that’s gonna be super beneficial. Not just make the decision that’s beneficial for today, like the motherfucking ten year beneficial decision.
5. Young Dolph Witnessed Drug Addiction At A Young Age
One of the talking points during Young Dolph’s interview was his parents’ bouts with drug addiction, which the rapper says helped prepare him for the harsh realities of the street life. In reference to his parents’ substance abuse, Dolph says he faced the experience head-on. But, he makes it clear that he has no ill will towards his mother and father. “Living everyday,” Dolph says of how he coped. “Just keep living. That shit gonna come to you, you ain’t got no choice. That shit gonna come to you, like, you either run from real life or you stand there and eat that shit up. Fight that shit, run that shit over and keep going. And shit, I jumped in the street early, you know what I mean? Once I jumped in the street, all that shit hit me, like damn. It ain’t just them, everybody jump in the streets get fucked up. Don’t nobody leave successful, don’t nobody leave on top, you know what I mean? So, that was just some personal shit I had to take within myself. I gotta forgive ’em, that’s the only mom and dad I got, you feel me? Something happen to them, then it’s gonna be like I’m out here doing all this hustling and hard ass maneuvering for shit. A lot of people do this shit for these bitches, man. I do this shit for my folk, you know what I’m saying? I do this shit for my family, on everything.”
6. He Once Opened For OJ Da Juiceman
During his humble beginnings as an aspiring rapper, Young Dolph reveals that one of his tactics for gaining exposure was to pay for stage time by opening for established acts, the first being OJ Da Juiceman. “They was throwing a party, I knew it was gonna be crazy,” Young Dolph recalls. “And the promoters, they were like I wasn’t known. I had just started rapping. So, it was like, I just had to put myself in a position where I got to perform, ain’t no giving them an option to let me perform. [So] I’m like, man, let me give y’all $3,000 and let me open up.’ [And] I was on stage.”
7. Project Pat Loves Sushi
The latest impromptu guest spot on “Drink Champs” came courtesy of former music journalist turned music executive Shaheem Reid, who shares an interesting story about Project Pat’s love for sushi. “First time I went to Memphis, Project Pat put me on to sushi,” Reid remembers. “Project Pat was fresh out of jail, right, and I was doing a story, I think for ‘The Source.’ This is when magazines actually had money and people used to fly you out. So, they go to Memphis and Project Pat, he might’ve been out of jail maybe like two days, and he’s like, ‘Let’s get something to eat’ and I’m thinking I’m bout to get the down home, soul food or whatever. And he’s like, ‘We gotta go to the sushi spot.’ We go to the spot and he orders the illest thing on the menu. He says, ‘Give us, like, four rolls of eel,’ and I’m like, damn, I don’t eat eel. So I’m like, yo, I can’t bitch out. I’m in front of Project Pat, I gotta eat this eel, man. And it was the most amazing shit.”
8. How Young Dolph Started Rapping
Young Dolph says that rap started off strictly as a past-time job for him. But, it was his partners in the street who convinced him to pursue it as a full-time career. “Man, freestyling in the car, riding around, doing what we do,” the Paper Route CEO remembers of his beginnings as a rapper. “Doing what we do and just turned up. Just pull off, count up, freestyling, back and forth. I win, he win, let’s go get something to eat, let’s go shopping, roll up a blunt, freestyle again, like, that’s how it started. I was just the youngest out of all of my partners and all of a sudden, all of them niggas just started telling me to rap.” He also adds that a string of losses also helped spur him to invest in his rap career moving forward. “I had lost a whole lot of money in like two weeks, like back to back and shit just happened. Lump sum of money lost, another lump sum of money lost. Everybody [was like], ‘Bruh, you could’ve spent that shit in [the studio].’”
9. How Boosie Badazz Inspired Him To Take Rap Seriously
When asked by Noreaga about the moment he knew that he was ready to take rap serious, Young Dolph credits a chance encounter with Boosie Badazz for inspiring him to put all of his energy into his own career and craft. “I’ma keep it 100, what made me know that I can do this shit, what made me [be] like, ‘I’m finna rap, I’m finna do this shit’ [was when] one of my partners from my hood, he called me. He was like, ‘I’m finna get ready to pull up on Boosie and smoke some weed with Boosie.’ This Lil Boosie, before he even went to jail for all that. We go over there, we get in his room [and] Boosie, like, he’s one of us, you know what I’m saying? And this his partner, like my boy, he go down to Baton Rouge, he got family down there. So, he fuck with him hard. Like Boosie just showing his ass. He was like, ‘Nigga, I remember I first started coming down here, I was getting $1,500 or something, now I’m getting $15,000.’ He was like, ‘Nigga, I’m bout to get that new Bentley when I go back to Baton Rouge, I’m finna do this, I’m finna do that.’ When we left, I told my partner, I was like, ‘I’m finna start rapping.’”
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