Sporting his signature gold chains and colorful “Pro 1973 Roe” merch in support of protecting Roe v. Wade, Yung Gravy’s positive energy jumped through the screen in his press conference on Wednesday. The rapper, first made famous through his SoundCloud hits, “Whip A Tesla” and “Mr. Clean,” began freestyling with his friends in high school, but did not pursue music until late in his college career. As evident from his fun, upbeat tracks and laid-back attitude, Gravy is big on not taking himself too seriously.
In order to maintain his normal life as a marketing student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Gravy started his career anonymously. About two or three months before graduating, he revealed his face via the music video for his track “Mr. Clean,” which blew up on SoundCloud.
Since then, Yung Gravy signed with Republic Records in November and has continued to impress with hits that are both funny and impressive, featuring top-notch bars and beats. He explained how coming up in the SoundCloud rapper community gave him various connections and friends who became future collaborators.
In Gravy’s words, they share a “sample banger style” that originates from a “SoundCloud sort of sound . . . shorter songs, distorted 808s . . . I still stay true to it; just sounds better to me.”
The platform helped circulate his music outside of his home state of Minnesota, which Gravy said is a more challenging local scene to come up in as it has bred rappers such as Prof, Atmosphere and ModSun. He dubbed watching the sudden rise of “One Night” by Lil Yachty, who went to high school with a friend of his, as the inspiration that drove him to officially start making music.
Gravy made the most of quarantine, writing the entirety of “Gasanova” in his newfound free time away from his usual touring lifestyle. When asked what three words Gravy would use to describe his album, he chimed, “thumps,” “carefree” and “gas.” These words are a reflection of the “positive energy” Gravy wants listeners to take away from his music.
“I think the confidence that [my music] helps give some people is one of my favorite parts,” he said.
He went on to describe what he wants for his listeners — to not overthink or be critical of themselves and to enjoy what’s around them.
“Just kind of being able to kick back and enjoy themselves and not stress about what’s going on on social media . . . there’s too much, like, judging people,” Gravy said, “and I think it’s dope to just go and feel like you can express yourself and be confident.”
Gravy named “Always Saucy” as his favorite track to make on the new album. It features verses by TrippyThaKid and Ski Mask The Slump God (who rarely features on tracks). Gravy discussed being especially excited about the track’s sample from the theme song of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” In the conference, he also teased future collaborations with Thundercat, Zack Fox and his wish to work with popular YouTube comedic rappers Cody Ko and Noel Miller.
Building on his soul influence, Gravy’s early hits sampled “Mr. Sandman” by The Chordettes and other oldies from the 1950s to 1970s. Gravy hints that “the album that we’re dropping Friday has a decent amount of that sample and sound, just the main difference now is it’s a lot easier to just create your own samples than it is to clear them …”
His personal fashion even reflects the oldies style, as seen in music videos like the one for his track “yup!” Never straying too far from his musical roots, Gravy emphasized how he wants to stay true to his soul sound, citing Bryson Tiller’s album “TRAPSOUL” as a similar vibe.
“Twenty years ago or more like maybe 50 years ago I just think some of the style was so dope . . . some of the disco steez,” Gravy said.
He shouted out the team that makes the process of creating unique sounds fun and creative. Overall, Gravy is very involved in the creative process, from creating album covers to designing music video concepts.
Fans, who Gravy refers to as his “Gravy Train,” should be excited about this new album release and his development as an artist. He seems to care a lot about his fans, even reminiscing about a proposal that happened between two fans at one of his meet-and-greets.
His new single, “Gas Money,” has been out since Sept. 18, and its catchy, clever lyrics and hot beat are great indicators for Gravy’s future releases.
“Gasanova” is available on Friday across all streaming platforms.