Yukmouth, one-half of the Oakland Calif. rap group The Luniz. Yuk tells what it took for him to become successful in the music industry and encourages newer artists to learn from his story.
The Luniz got a record deal when Yukmouth was 18-years-old. Although their first album Operation Stackola was a huge success, Yukmouth had trouble transitioning from drug dealer to a rapper.
“I Got 5 On It had just came out and I was still going to people’s houses selling weed to them,” said Yukmouth over the phone.
Yuk credited the Notorious B.I.G. for encouraging him to stop selling weed and taking his career more seriously.
“Biggie chose us (The Luniz) over Mack 10 to go on tour with him,” said Yukmouth. “That tour was a big thing for us. It is what made me decide to stop selling weed.”
During the height of Operation Stackola Yuk moved from Oakland to Los Angeles. Yukmouth stated letting the streets go was the best thing he did for himself and his career.
“I had to separate myself from the people in my past,” said Yukmouth “I probably would have gotten myself into a lot of trouble if I stayed in Oakland.”
Aside from a successful career as an artist, Yukmouth is also the CEO of his own independent record label, Smoke-A-Lot Records. Yuk explained the differences between major labels and being an independent artist.
“When you’re signed to a major label you’re practically their slave. You have to do what they tell you to and they cheat you out of a lot of money,” said Yukmouth. “When you’re independent you have to do everything yourself. You have to be your own manager and do your own marketing on top of being an artist. It’s a lot more work but you make a lot more money doing it.”
Yukmouth has a new album with The Regime called “The Dragon Gang” which is scheduled to release on March 19th, 2013. The album features over 25 artist including Ampichino, Monsta Gangah, Lee Majors, Dru Down and Tech N9ne. The Dragon Gang took over two-years in the making due to scheduling conflicts between artists.
“Everyone is busy with their own careers,” explained Yukmouth. ” You have artist like Tech N9ne who spends the majority of the year touring. You also have artists like Dru Down who is in and out of prison. It’s hard getting these guys in the studio.”
Yukmouth also host his own radio show called “Smoke-A-Lot Radio” which airs every Monday from 9 to 11 p.m. PST. You can listen online at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/