Detroit’s fast-rising artist Yung Quis is producing some of the most authentic music available today. Mark had a deep conversation with him about life, music, his career, and a lot more.
The self-made success of Detroit rapper Yung Quis is a 20-year story of unexaggerated triumph and trepidation. These tales live in his music and he wants his fans to appreciate the honesty. “They will never hear something in a song that’s not true unless it’s a punchline,” he says. “They’ll never hear something from me that’s not the truth. Everybody says they’re real. I’m just honest.”
A product of the infamous drug and crime saturated Dexter neighborhood, the Hustle Muzik Entertainment artist is no longer interested in the dangerous trappings of street life in his ‘hood. He has moved on. Quis explains this clearly on “RAP” featuring Jeezy, the 3rd single off his 2021 album K.O.D. (King of Detroit). He rhymes, “I don’t wanna sell dope no more, I swear this rap s**t knocking at my front door; finally realized that I can’t do both”.
What Quis can and does do throughout K.O.D., an LP he spent a year completing, is share the experiences of his troubled past. Committed to not repeating previous transgressions, he’s assured himself a harmonious future through a relentless drive to succeed with his music. “By giving [my album] that title I wanted it to be the best piece of work I could possibly put together.”
Since 2018 Quis has put together a string of well-received singles – “Friends” (2018), “Aaliyah” (2018)”, “Paper Tags” featuring Boosie Baddazz (2019), “Number 2” featuring Icewear Vezzo & Big Herk (2019), “The Goats” featuring Payroll Giovanni (2019), and the title track of his 2019 LP Game Over.
Among the brilliant tracks on K.O.D. is the autobiographical 2020 single “Dexter”, the lyrical and smooth “Feels So Good” featuring T.I., and the banger “Whip It Up” featuring Jazze Pha. Recording with these top artists was a dream come true.
“When I was 15,” Quis begins, “Jeezy’s first album Thug Motivation 101 came out. T.I.’s second album Trap Muzik came out. I hustled and grew up and cried and smiled to their music my whole life.”
Truthfully, Quis always wanted to be rapper. He pursued it with no fallback plan, a course his father didn’t agree with. “He was the person I wanted to impress the most,” he says. “As a father that’s the worst thing you could do to kids, [telling] them their dream might not work. You tell them think of a second one. You’re supposed to motivate your kids to be the best thing in the world they want to be. That made me go harder with the music!”
Possessing a distinct skill for poetry and storytelling as at 7-years-old, Quis would rap with his family to pass the time. They would rap about their detrimental struggles and trying to overcome them. “I just happened to be the best one in the house doing it,” he boasts.
Spending time around neighborhood rappers as a pre-teen in the early 2000s led to Quis signing with local label Rock Da House Entertainment at age 12. He didn’t make any money but earned valuable experience. “I learned that you can’t buy an audience,” he says. “I had my core following when I didn’t have a dollar in my pocket.”
By 9th grade Quis had gained considerable traction while simultaneously treading dangerous grounds. He filled his backpack with mixtapes instead of books and distributed them to his high school, other schools in the Detroit area and throughout his own neighborhood. Regrettably, music wasn’t the only thing he was handing out. He was involved in unsavory behavior on those Dexter streets, actions that could have cost him his life.
“When I was 15-years-old I got shot for that ‘hood,” he recounts. “I did a lot of stuff that was nonsense. The ‘hood didn’t do nothing for me but take from me. Now that I’ve made it out of there, the most idiotic thing I could do is go back and stand on a corner with everybody else.”
Today Yung Quis stands by the strength of his rap career. He’s a self-made success story born from unexaggerated trepidation. He says, “My music is the only place I can really talk about this stuff. It’s full of a lot of my life.”