We had the good fortune of connecting with Yusef and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Yusef, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I’m from Compton California, however my experience wasn’t the stereotypical Boys N the Hood backstory.

Growing up I was exposed to just about everything. I had people in my family who were engineers, musicians, scientists, and scholars. And I also had family who were from the streets and were gang members and ex cons. Ironically some were a little bit of both.

Those influences worked to give me a broader perspective and understanding of the world. Even as a child, as a result of circumstance; I was never allowed the privilege to think as one. I never saw the world through a lens of naivety, and it made me stoic in nature.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I commit myself totally to whatever I’m working on artistically. I believe music and art should reflect the times and the mind of the artist. In my day to day life I don’t speak much so music gives me an outlet to be vulnerable and honest regardless of whether it’s self accusing honesty.

My favorite artist of all time is Gil Scott-Heron because of how raw he portrayed his art to where it was vivid and even ugly at times but you knew it was his truth.

I feel like I’ve gotten to where I am as an artist by not being afraid of being honest in my music regardless of the consequence of that honesty or how I’ll be viewed by it. Part of that comes from living life and learning to stand on who I am as a man unapologetically ya dig.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would probably go to the beach and take them to kick it at my family’s or the homies crib. Just to give them an accurate authentic experience of what Compton and La really is. I’m a simple man so my idea of having a good time is just kicking it with some genuine folks.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would be remiss if I didn’t give the credit to my uncles. Particularly my uncle Reuben (Big Reub) Muhammad, who I refer to as my Father because he raised me as his own son. My mother, though a intellectually brilliant mind; struggled with mental illness during a time when mental illness wasn’t spoken of, let alone a black woman’s mental health.

Due to this, she was unable to care for my older brother and I so Big Reub & my aunt took us in. We struggled financially severely because he had three boys of his own at the time but he raised us all, being a single father the majority of that time.

We were poor as hell and homeless on occasions, but the intangible wealth of love, discipline, and wisdom he provided me with made me who I am today. I’m eternally grateful to Allah for blessing me with a father in him.

Instagram: 808.yusef

Youtube: https://youtu.be/TEuZtV0P5u8

Image Credits
Shot by Dollie Dummies

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