What's up Leafers? Welcome to the latest edition of On the Rise where we interview upcoming hip hop talent. Today's guest is hip hop artist, Young Leaf. Leaf is an artist straight out of East Hampton, New York. Inspired by internationally acclaimed artists such as Nas and Eminem, Leaf is striving to have a huge impact on the game. Leaf is versatile as well, he works as a producer and graphic designer. Additionally, Leaf has collaborated with the likes of Solomon Child's from Wu-Tang, 808 Mafia, and K.E. on the Track. Young Leaf recently released a new album on Apple Music called Dreams To Reality. But enough from us, we recently linked up with Leaf to discuss his life and musical roots. Check out the interview below.
Westleaf Staff: What's up Young Leaf? Your sound is dope. When did you start making music?
Young Leaf: Music has been a part of my life since I was 5. Way before my great grandfather passed, he had piano that was manufactured in the 1930's and I used to play it all the time when I went to his house, then I started playing the harmonica, the acoustic guitar, the clarinet, the trombone, etc. I did chorus in middle school and I found out I was a pretty good singer so I did some songwriting for a bit and found a passion in that. When i was in 9th grade, I was in an after school club and I met this kid that rap battled me and I kinda won and every one said that I should rap. So i did rap battles and freestyles in the school hallway until i started to record some music. I didn't have the proper equipment until I turned 18. I started using a neewer broadcasting mic then I upgraded to a condenser mic with a tripod stand, shock mount, mic and pop filter, usb audio interfaces, XLR Cables, a gaming laptop, and audio technica headphones (upgraded those to sony studio headphones afterwords.) Now I'm using a USB Blue Yeti Studio Microphone, Sony Headphones, a phone camera stand (for behind the scenes footage), etc.
Westleaf Staff: Dope! You're a real hustler. I love the progression. What city do you represent?
Young Leaf: Originally East Hampton but now i represent Football Hall of Fame City, Canton!
Westleaf Staff: Nice! How did you create your stage name?
Young Leaf: I was in Living Environment class and we were learning about photosynthesis and I was looking for a stage name so when we were learning about that I thought of Young Leaf plus I was thinking of Naruto at that time.
Westleaf Staff: Ha! You never know where the inspiration will come from. So how did your early life shape your interest in music?
Young Leaf: Well, I grew up in East Hampton, NY which people think is the creme of the crop of the Hamptons but I lived in a pretty bad area. I grew up in section 8 housing in an apartment complex which you probably have heard of, Accabonac Apartments but we call it the 316 and their was a lot of shit that happened around my block. There was a lot of fights, drug and alcohol use, gang violence, rape, robberies, shootings, etc. I mainly grew up with a dysfunctional family. We always fought with each other (verbally and sometimes physically) and there was a lot of drug use. Many of my family members are either drunks or narcotics users. For me, I did pain killers for a lil bit until I realized that shit was killing me inside and I quit doing it after a while. I was born with a developmental disability called Autism Spectrum Disorder but that turned into Bipolar II which was genetic. When i was growing up I didn't have any friends 'cause i was bullied a lot so I had to hang out by myself in a man cave my mom helped me create and my father wasn't around that much neither. My parents got divorced when I was 2 and a half and that hurt inside even though I was still fairly young. My dad had me on the weekends until i was 14-15, I was abused and assaulted for no reason at all. It was always something idiotic that caused me to get beat to a pulp. My early life shaped my interest in music because I went through that hell, so I started using music as therapy. Music is one of my biggest coping mechanism and it helps immensely.
Westleaf Staff: I'm glad you came out of that. Much respect to you. Who is your biggest Musical influence?
Young Leaf: Eminem and Nas are both of my biggest music influences 'cause I can relate to them so much.
Westleaf Staff: Facts. Those are some giants. What has been the defining moment in your music career?
Young Leaf: The defining moment in my music career was being played on Siriusxm for the first time in 2018.
Westleaf Staff: Nice. Congratulations! So what makes you a unique artist?
Young Leaf: What makes me a unique artist you ask? I tell a story with my music and it actually is based on my life and my experiences. Who in the industry has the gaul to talk about their trauma and drama growing up? No one other than Em and Nas.
Westleaf Staff: That's real. I feel that. So what does art mean to you?
Young Leaf: Art is a sculpture of unimaginable opportunities that you can create with a canvas and or paper. Art is therapy to me. Art enthusiastic and art is life.
Westleaf Staff: That was super poetic fasho. I respect that. Where do you see your music career going over the next few years?
Young Leaf: Idk as of now. I want to perfect my craft before I go anywhere with it you know.
Westleaf Staff: Real. It's coming most definitely. Keep grinding. Before you go, describe music in three words.
Young Leaf: Artistic, therapeutic, and stress-relieving.
Follow Young Leaf: