Joc is co-owner of Block Entertainment

“I want people to know I'm a force to be reckoned with. When I come, your ass better be ready,” declares a confident Yung Joc. But then, when you have Tom Cruise doing your dance on 106 & Park and your ringtone downloads double platinum, you can be fairly confident you've already whupped a certain amount of ass.

Yung Joc is the latest ATL trap star to make it onto primetime TV. Signed to Puffy's Bad Boy South label, the 23 year-old is the standout success story of Atlanta so far this year with his album New Joc City currently selling by the shedload. It's more to do with determination than the actual music itself though, he insists. “It's creativity but mainly it's perseverance,” he reflects. “See, these other artists can have bigger hits then mine, they can have a better look then me, but I work circles around people.” Not just a tireless rhymer, this enterprising young business-man is co-CEO of Block Entertainment (home to Boyz In The Hood) and a budding video director.

But it's his Nitti created smash It's Goin Down that really put the rapper on the map. Featuring Joc's dirty south drawl and Cruise-copied ‘Motorcycle' moves, its hypnotic effect is immediate. “I wanted a dance where I could get people to do it wit' me. One thing you will learn is that people are like hard drives. Whatever you programme it to do, the computer will do,” he smiles, nodding towards the impressive sound-desk in his Memorial Drive studio in Atlanta. A road named in honour of Martin Luther King, the stretch is now littered with low-price rim shops and derelict buildings. “We wanted to keep that hood element so when you step outside you see realness,” he says of the studio's low-key location behind an abandoned gas station. “It keeps our mindset in the streets.”

See, while he may be making cash by the hour, the softly-spoken spitter born Jasiel Robinson is still a man of the people. “I'm like your best friend; you can talk to me, I can talk to you. I'm the real Chamillionaire; I can go to the coffee shop and have an intellectual conversation and leave there to go to the trap with the dope boys cooking up the works,” he says of his ability to be all things to all people. “I think to stop the violence it's gonna take younger leaders to step forward cos youth relates to the youth. You gotta talk to the people,” he decides. “See a diamond,” he wonders moments later. “A diamond is multi-faceted. That's me; a man of many sides.”

Words by Hattie Collins


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