Young Greatness born Theodore Joseph Jones III was a 7th ward rapper from New Orleans. He was one of the few new rappers from New Orleans to see commercial success.
One thing that separated him from most rappers was his ability to adapt to different situations.
Growing up in New Orleans is tough. The size of the city makes it hard to escape confrontation. This is why most rap artists move away in order to pursue their rap careers. Aside from the lack of a music distribution pipeline in New Orleans, it’s not the safest place in the world. The 90s and early 2000s were chaotic in New Orleans, and although those times gave birth to the music we know and love today, there are negative effects from those times still plaguing us today.
After Katrina Young Greatness moved to Houston, Texas to find refuge. He stayed in Houston for 3 years and he loved it. Houston became a second home to him. During that time Houston also had a huge influence on hip hop. Bun B, Chamillionaire, Mike Jones, and other Houston artists were buzzing at the time. He met a few of those artists and they had a major impact on his approach to the game.
YG actually started rapping in 2003 a few years before the storm. It wasn’t until he moved to Houston that he started taking music seriously. After doing some time from 2007-2010 he formulated a plan to live between Atlanta and New Orleans until his music career blossomed. He understood that New Orleans didn’t have the resources necessary to push an artist to mainstream at the time and knew he had to reach out to bigger markets. He stayed in New Orleans for seven days and stayed in Atlanta for seven days for three years straight.
Things started to heat up after meeting his manager at V103.3 in Atlanta doing an interview for his record that he had with Juvenile called Buku. She believed in him so much that she took the record to Coach K and P over at Quality Control Records an Atlanta Power Label rooted in Cash Money & No Limit Culture. They heard his music, called him and signed him.
Once he got signed he went to the studio for 2 months. Akon’s brother Omar was in the studio with him and was blown away by his sound and originality. He called Akon to the studio and he loved it so much he asked Quality Control to get in on YG’s situation and become a co-manager.
Shortly after in 2015 his single Moolah produced by Jazzy Pha went gold and reached 85 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 2017 Young Greatness left Quality Control and signed to Cash Money Records. Before he left the label Ronald Slim Williams Cash Money co-founder reached out to Young Greatness after it became public that his situation at QC was changing. He wanted to help YG because he was from New Orleans and wanted to see someone from New Orleans win. He didn’t mind working with Cash Money although the situation with Lil Wayne was big news at the time. After working somethings, out with the help of Birdman YG was official a Cash Money Millionaire.
Things turned bad for YG in 2018 a year later when he was hit outside of a Waffle House while getting something to eat in New Orleans one night. He didn’t make it. The city took this loss hard. He was one of the few to make it out of the city and to see it end like this was disheartening. Young Greatness will live on as a legend from the 7th who wrote his own story and walked his own destiny.