“I did everything that all the rappers used to do like writing real bars and real raps and it didn’t work. I just had to wait my turn. I watched everybody around me shine before I had my turn to shine.”
Whether you love the platform or not, we can’t ignore the amount of impact that Tik Tok has had on the music industry as of late. The app that caught the most traction during quarantine became the home to the latest music trends and dances, and a lot of people found new artists there. The amount it time it takes for a Tik Tok sound to trend on the app seems like it gets shorter and shorter, and rap songs are leading the charge of most of the viral songs. One artist in particular who found his rise to stardom from the app would be the upcoming Flint Michigan rapper–YN Jay.
Most recognizable for his bars about coochie, YN Jay has been one of the many artists from Flint Michigan to take off and show signs of a very promising future. His buzz began around March of 2020 when the country was completely shut down, and many of us found our entertainment on Tik Tok. His song “Coochie” featuring fellow Flint-native and frequent collaborator Louie Ray was one of the first songs of his to blow up on the app, and his career has been up ever since. Utilizing funny bars and witty lyrics about everything under the sun, YN Jay shows that you can have a successful rap career, have fun, and make hits all at the same time. Since his career took off, he has released well over 20 music videos and won’t let up at all. With rappers like Rio Da Young OG, RMC Mike, and many others making noise out of Flint, it is easily becoming the next city on the map with its own sound, and YN Jay is at the forefront of it. While he might be labeled by many as a “comedy rapper”, YN Jay is fine with that, because he knows that he can switch gears at any given moment, and his fans will support him always.
I chopped it up with YN Jay and spoke about his early life, the music scene in Flint Michigan, being the Coochie Man, and more. Read our conversation below!
What was your upbringing like growing up in Michigan?
YN JAY: It was pretty cool overall. It was a lot going on though. It’s a really crazy city sometimes man. A lot of drug dealers, a lot of abandoned houses—it’s a crazy place to grow up as a kid. It was hard because there are so many routes you can take growing up in Flint because there isn’t really a lot of good people here. Lots of kids don’t go to college, so it was like if you did that, you made it out of the jungle.
At what point did you decide that music is what you wanted to do?
YN JAY: I feel like I was born into this music shit. I’ve been wanting to do this my entire life. I’ve been rapping since I was 10 years old. I’m talking about taking it seriously too like working on it all day, sleeping in studios every day. They say you’re supposed to put in 10,000 hours and I feel like I damn near put in 50,000 hours into this shit. Coming out of Flint Michigan, making music was like playing basketball or playing a sport. Everyone made music, but only a handful of people made it out. I’m actually from Beecher but it’s right down the street from Flint so I just call it that.
I used to rap with a group called Krispy Life back then. I’ve changed my rap name like 30 times. I was rapping for so long and taking it seriously and eventually, it just paid off in the end. I used to be so conditioned to doing things the traditional way. I always had a 16-bar hook, 8 bar chorus, and all that. It wasn’t until I started to do things my own way like freestyling, being unorthodox, yelling in the mic in the middle of the verse and all that until it started to pay off, and that didn’t happen until last year.
I always told my brother—as long as I’m alive, I’m gonna get bigger and better. I always knew I could make it. All I had to do was just keep living. I had a brother that passed away when I was 13 years old, and this was a real brother. He lost his life after a party and it was his first time going to a party. At that point, it was like damn—after I that I’ve been through and all that I’ve sacrificed, I gotta do something. I have to at least show my brother that I could really do it and that all of this wasn’t for no reason.
Who are some of the people who influenced you?
YN JAY: My brother Louie Ray–he’s with me right now and you’ll always see him with me. My Brother Rio Da Young OG. My brother RMC Mike. They aren’t my real brothers, but I treat them like we’re related. Those three right there really motivated me and kept me levelheaded. And YFN Lucci—I used to make music like him back in the day. A lot of people used to compare me to Lucci back in the day because I used to rap about the struggle and I used to harmonize a lot like he did.
YN Jay raps alongside Louie Ray for one of their many singles together titled “Always Ready”
How has the pandemic been treating you?
YN JAY: It’s been great for me because I feel like I did everything during the pandemic. Things really started to take off for me during the pandemic. I made the “Coochie” song during quarantine, like when we were all on lockdown. I made a million dollars during quarantine. I never made $10,000 in my entire life, so this was major for me. I know the pandemic may have had a bad impact on some people, but for me, it helped me out a lot.
How do you feel about all of the fame that’s come your way so far?
YN JAY: I feel like everything was right on time. I see a lot of people who look at other people who get on and then they’ll be like “damn why can’t that be me? Why am I not on yet?”. It’s some people that will look at me and be like “this dude ain’t even talking about anything. All he does is talk about coochie and freestyle” but people don’t understand that I had to wait until it was my turn. I did everything that all the rappers used to do like writing real bars and real raps and it didn’t work. I just had to wait my turn. I watched everybody around me shine before I had my turn to shine.
How do you feel about Flint getting the recognition it deserves now?
YN JAY: I feel great about it man. My brother Louie Ray going crazy—he just dropped a video called “Free Rio”. RMC Mike been dropping like crazy and he’s been holding it down for Rio until he gets back home. Rio has A LOT of music that’s still on the way even while he’s in jail right now. We got a lot of shit going on and we’re gonna give the fans exactly what they want.
YN Jay taps in with Rio Da Young OG on “Thank Me Later”
You’ve been going crazy on Tik Tok and every single song you drop goes viral. What do you think it is about your music that fits so well with the Tik Tok platform?
YN JAY: Tik Tok is a place meant for entertainers. It’s meant for people to have fun and be organically themselves. I’m an entertainer and when I sat back and actually thought about it, I realized that everything I do is original, it’s organic, and it’s all me. I could be chilling and then I’ll randomly make a random noise like on some goofy shit. People used to tell me like “bro if you do this on Tik Tok, it’ll go crazy and they’ll run with it. I never really understood the value of Tik Tok at first, but sometimes I have to see it to believe it. Once I really sat there and understood the impact of it all, that’s when I started to put the pedal to the floor and really started to push my brand there. Once I got on there, I realized that I had over a million views across videos made to my songs. Now I make sounds for Tik Tok and come up with ideas for the platform.
“Triple S” is one of many viral Tik Tok songs that YN Jay has released
You stated earlier that you used to rap with introspective bars and real-life situations and then you made the transition to being the “Coochie Man”. What was it that made you want to refer to yourself as the Coochie Man?
YN JAY: I was really just experimenting. I’ve been really heavy on experimenting my whole life. Some of the songs I have, I’m sure people out there maybe think about doing it and then don’t end up doing it. Before I say I won’t do it, I would try it. When I first thought about being the Coochie Man, my homies used to think I was crazy as hell. We we’re real street dudes so they we’re like “come on bro—that doesn’t even sound right”. But I was like shit, nothing will sound right until you try it. I came up with the idea to be the Coochie Man before I even made the song. It was just a crazy marketing idea that I came up with. Then I started to wear these baggy ass suits around the hood, but people respected it and people laughed. I got this one picture where I was wearing this big brown suit, and that was the day I became the Coochie Man [laughs]. Next thing you know, everybody used to be like “damn that’s the Coochie Man”, so I started to become that. This shit helped me out in a lot of ways. Now it’s a lot easier for me to talk to females—like my game is immaculate right now.
Can there only be one Coochie Man?
YN JAY: Nah, there can be plenty Coochie Men. You just gotta work your way up to it, you feel me? Anybody can be a Coochie Scout, but everybody can’t be a Coochie Man. Think of Coochie Scouts as like, Boy Scouts. You gotta earn your badges before you become a scoutmaster. That’s how it is when you’re a Coochie Scout. You gotta earn your badges before you make your way up to being a Coochie Man.
A lot of people look at what you do and consider it to be “comedy rap”. Do you think it will be hard for some people to look past that stigma of calling you a comedy rapper?
YN JAY: Personally, I’m comfortable with them calling me a comedy rapper because that’s what I’m giving people right now. I can rap my ass off if I want to, but right now, I’m getting these funny bars off and the fans love it. Eminem used to be a “comedy rapper” early on in his career, but he really could rap too. Yeah, it was real-life situations in his first few albums too, but he made those songs and had those bars that made you laugh. I’m super versatile and I have so much more music that I have that’s really gonna fuck the game up, but right now I love what I do and the fans love it. I know when the right time to pull back from it and transition to something else, so for right now, this is me.
I look at this shit like it’s a wet towel. When a towel is wet, you squeeze the towel, and you keep squeezing it until there’s no more water left in it. That’s how I look at my flows. I look at my flows and my styles as towels. I’m gonna keep squeezing it out until there’s nothing left, and then I’ll move on to the next one, and the next one, so on and so forth. People from my hometown used to say that they wanted me to go back to rapping about the struggle like I used to. I’ve been rapping like that for 9 years and nothing popped off. As soon as I started to do “comedy rap”, shit been looking up for me. Everybody can’t relate to the struggle and everybody don’t want to hear that all the time. We have certain rappers that do that very well—people can listen to them. I make music that makes people happy and makes people laugh, and they love it.
Lil Yachty has been teasing his Michigan mixtape collaborating with all the artists that are buzzing from up there. What’s your involvement with that project and how did you link up with Yachty?
YN JAY: Yachty is a reall n*gga, man. It ain’t too many real n*ggas in the game but Yachty is one of them. He really fucked with me on a personal level too. He was the first artist in the game to reach out and really tap in with me and show me love. As far as the project, it’s not finalized yet but I think I got a few songs on there. Yachty and I really been cooking up so it ain’t no telling what songs might land on there.
Lil Yachty recruits YN Jay and RMC Mike for “Flintana”
Who are you still eager to tap in with in the game?
YN JAY: I really want to work with Drake. I text him every now and then just to catch up. We follow each other on Instagram too, so I know some shit will come eventually. I want to tap in with Snoop Dogg too. I wanted to tap in with DMX before he passed. He used to be my favorite rapper growing up. He plays a big part in my music too especially when I do the yelling in my songs—that was inspired by the growl that he used to do in his songs. I look up to a lot of the legends in the game, so I really want to tap in with all of them. I was born in ’99 but I got an old soul. I grew up surrounded by older people, so I feel like I was grown at a young age and I never really had a chance to be young.
What are you currently working on that the fans can look forward to?
YN JAY: I’m working on this mixtape with a lot of soulful samples on it mixed with my new sound. There’s this picture going around of me photoshopped onto a dude with a Soul Train outfit on with an afro and some women around him. That’s what the mixtape is inspired by. I’m also working on dropping another album called YN Jay vs. The Coochie Man. It’s gonna be like the old me versus the new me. Like a mixture of both sounds competing against each other. I got a dope concept of skits and stuff like that with a good and a bad side of me. I don’t have a date yet, so it’s gonna be a surprise but I look forward to dropping it hopefully within the next month.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
YN JAY: Man, ain’t no telling where I might be in five years. I might go to the moon. I might end up owning a spaceship and flying to Coochie Land on y’all ass [laughs]. I see myself owning a bunch of strip clubs all over the country and call it “Coochie Land”. I wanna start my own cartoon on Adult Swim and Netflix and all of that. I see myself winning Grammy Awards and BET awards and all of that. I see myself investing in the community in Flint like building more schools in the city and getting more involved in community outreach.
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