It’s One Love with A. Young

Rising Artist A. Young is bringing his message of self-love and pursuit of passion to the world through banging beats and wise couplets

For someone born in the heart of hatred, A. Young radiates nothing but love and positivity. He couldn’t have known that he was stepping into the world in a place that two decades later would become a flash point in a fierce, beyond needed, national discourse surrounding race after one of America’s most violent racially motivated domestic terrorist attacks in years. Born in Stone Mountain, Georgia twenty-six years ago, A. Young was born the youngest of five brothers. From a youngin, A. Young found himself drawn to the music bumping from his siblings speakers as their playlists bounced from reggae to conscious hip-hop to (inevitably) the snap music wave which overtook Atlanta in the mid-2000’s. This diversity of listening at a young age opened A.’s mind to the possibilities afforded to someone who lets their creativity drive their output above anything else. It should come as no surprise that Outkast was one of the prominent influences in A. Young’s musical education, expanding on and drilling in the importance of maintaining ones individuality in their music.  One of A.’s older brothers was already experimenting on his own, having set up a recording space in the garage where him and the homies could kick it and work on making a sound of their own. While A. was still some years away from getting behind the mic himself, being around his older brother while he was creating helped carve the beginnings of A.’s desire to be on wax himself someday. Like the red clay that is so ubiquitous in Georgia, sticking to everything it touches leaving permanent marks, A. Young’s childhood home was fertile ground for the musical seeds planted to open up and take permanent root. The memories and lessons, both positive and negative, which came from A.’s childhood there would forever stick with him and the lessons learned would help to guide him as he continued forward in life. If music was on the positive end of the memory scale, having one of his older brothers pass away a day before his tenth birthday stands on the other end as a harsh early life lesson on the fragility of being alive. The loss brought the stark reality of life into focus for A. Young, and lit a fire inside of him that has continued to burn bright to this day as he continues striving to live life to the fullest, leaving no stone unturned or word unsaid.

It was seven years later that the pieces of A. Young’s life puzzle started to become clear, the picture of life as a musician coming into permanent view. He began seriously recording during his final year of high school, linking up with some day ones that were starting to get into music on their own. After spending a minute on their own, getting in reps with their pens and finding some comfortability behind the mic, A. Young dropped his mixtape on Soundcloud during the summer between graduating from high school and entering the University of West Georgia. The project was a collection of songs plucked from the recordings that him and the homies had put together over the course of that summer, of which “Faith In Love” was a particularly proud moment for A. Young. The song was the first that he ever created without any features, and the song title was incredibly in-line with the way that A. Young was living his life. Focused, with faith in himself, having a girl who he loved and love him back just as much who sat there and watched him record the entire mixtape. She had been with him, believing in his ability from high school until the time they separated for school, but still found the time to support the entire process. After they finished school, they reconnected and haven’t been separated since. When A. left to go to school, he kept the momentum going with the drop of his second tape, Higher Learning. One of the homies who had linked up with A. in the making of the first tape decided to not follow the same college route and went on his own to a different school in Georgia than the rest of the gang. His homie making connections in the music industry, so when A. dropped his tape, his homie passed Higher Learning onto one of those connections he had made, a group called Emedia Star. The time that A. Young had spent working on his craft was paying off although not directly towards him, as Emedia Star took one listen and hit A. Young’s homie back wanting to offer him a recording contract along with A.’s homie who owned the mic that A. recorded on. When those two weren’t sure about signing or not, Emedia reached out to A. and put the same offer on the table for him. As soon as he got the call, A. Young knew that this was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. Even though in an ideal world A. Young and the homies that made that first tape would have all been signed together, leaving the South to head out West and get down to business. In A. Young’s mind, “All together we could do damage but if I was the only one who was gonna do it then fuck it Imma do it”, and in the end it was just him making the journey out to California in pursuit of his musical dreams.

Beginning on January 27th, 2014, A. Young was a signed music artist. School became the secondary focus as he committed himself fully to making the most of the chance that had been put in front of him. Juggling school and recording was beyond a full-time job, it was a fully life-consuming endeavor for A as he jetted back and forth between LA and Carrollton (home of the University of West Georgia). Life moved at two distinct paces, and although both were paths leading to his future, A. Young felt himself pulled towards the bright lights and new experiences that being a signed recording artist brought about. Instead of eating dorm hall food on a bland tray, A. Young was sampling small plates and finer dining at restaurants around LA. Emedia Star was focused on getting the absolute most out of A. Young, flying him in and out every weekend and writing on all sorts of songs, leaving his grades to patiently await his attention whenever he got a spare minute. At the end of his first year on the contract and during his summer break, A. was back home hooping with some of the guys he hadn’t seen for a year. A. Youngs freshman year traveling back and forth across the country, fueling himself on minimal sleep, wasn’t exactly the best prep for all-out athletic endeavors, and while playing a pick-up game, A tore his ACL. The injury was a turning point in the relatively enjoyable journey A. had found himself on for the past year with Emedia. Back at school, unable to get surgery to fix up the ACL tear and forced to maneuver his way to each class on foot, A. Young could feel his spirits draining. He was still making trips out west, but the weight of his double life was starting to take a harsh mental toll.  With the addition of rehabbing the torn ACL, A. found himself needing to dramatically improve his grades to retain the financial aid required to keep him in school. After grinding his ass off, A. was able to bring his GPA up by .4, a hell of an effort but it still left him short of the required mark. With school now taken out of the picture financially, A. turned his focus entirely towards the music. However the music wouldn’t be an easy road either, as A found himself once again having to juggle two lives while working at a local Publix. Although he was doing his best to keep everyone happy, the abrupt in and out nature of A.’s availability frustrated his employer and himself as his life seemed to continue its movement towards chaos. At the end of the second year of his contract, the ties were cut and A. moved forward on his own, unsure if he would even continue making music on his own. And that’s just what A. Young did, stepping away from music for a little while, taking a different job, and even beginning to do some background work in videos and movies around Atlanta. He couldn’t stay away for long though, being on set and watching other creatives ply their trade had left A. with a deep itch to get on his own grind.

2018 was the year that A. Young jumped into music headfirst and he hasn’t stopped yet to catch his breath. “Fuck doing anything that isn’t music”, was the mentality A. Young explained to me, taking all the energy and initiative that had been driving him to sit back and stack up and turning it into the music fully. He’s been happy as hell working on his own to attain the success he craves in the music industry. Or as A. Young said it best, “The way I sees my life right now, I feels like I’m in first person but I knows that I’m playing a game, I sees shit for what it is that it doesn’t get to me.”. 2021 is sure to be a year that A. Young utilizes to the max, popping up at stages wherever he can and bringing the crowds together into a higher state of conscious. Make sure to check out his work available on all platforms, follow his on social media for all the updates on his schedule and such, and be ready for him to come and bring the love to somewhere near you!

Jake Zinda

24 years old, from Wisconsin Hip-Hop Journalist @CMAG N.S.C.T.D.

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