THE BLOG
12/08/2014 09:06 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Yung Gleesh (Video)

Yung Gleesh is not about to provide anyone with a step-by-step guide to success. "There aren't steps that you can follow to get where I got. I can't break it down," he drawls in a thick, smoky twang. "I can tell you my story, but it's damn sure not going to work for the next man."

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Success is something the rapper from Washington, D.C., is quickly becoming accustomed to, following a series of wildly popular mixtapes and collaborations with Chief Keef, A$AP Rocky and Gucci Mane. His latest, Cleansides Finest 3, is 18 tracks of rough and ready hip-hop incorporating Gleesh's own unique slang and swagger.

"It ain't hip-hop, it ain't rap, it ain't pop, it ain't classic, it ain't bass... it's shitbag music, for people who can relate to me and what I'm talking about," he says.

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Gleesh hasn't always been so self-deprecating about his music. As a teenager he was a member of TOB, a legendary group on the Go Go scene, the city's unique, funk inspired party music -- think DJ Kool's "Let Me Clear My Throat." "We were the Jackson Five of Go Go," he says now.

Taking Crane on a drive through his nation's capital, where the awkward juxtaposition of politics, power and poverty is all too apparent, Gleesh's motivations soon become clear.

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"Pennsylvania Avenue, that thing goes through the 'hood and to the White House. You see a big difference... I'm making music to feed my family... I'm trying to turn art into paper [money]."

Text by Tom Jenkins for Crane.tv
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