YB describes himself as “a soldier on the front lines for God, passionate about young people and passionate about excellence.”
His father left the home when he was thirteen, after which YB went to music to escape his troubles.
“Instead of going out and doing something I would regret, I turned to music and I started to write those emotions and tried to create a reality that I wished existed.”
“I remember looking into the mirror [listening] to some of my favorite rappers and rehearsing their lyrics.” As a teenager music taught him how to be a man and be comfortable in his own skin. When YB was in high school, his older brother got him a portable studio. “That was a game changer for me because I never left that spot. I stayed there trying to learn how to record. That’s where it all started.”
As a teenager, YB believed in God but was afraid of committing himself to the Lord. “I rode the fence for years.” When he got to college, his friends were all believers, and “one day I was on the sideline, we were playing intramural flag football and I got a call from my college pastor, and he said, ‘Man, Brandon, you would be so good if it weren’t for yourself.’” Not understanding what was meant, YB went on as normal.
A few months later the youth pastor invited YB to the Passion conference. He didn’t know anything about it, but the pastor said he would pay for everything if he agreed to come. YB said yes.
“Night one, I’m having a blast. I’m making the night about me. I got people laughing and all of the conversations. On night two I wake up and I’m covered in bumps.”
After having an allergic reaction, YB said he looked terrible and was too ashamed to go out or let anyone see him. “Man, I shouldn’t have come. Man, this was a waste of time. I shouldn’t be here.” Those were the thoughts of regret when he saw what had happened to him.
Later his symptoms subsided, and he went back out to the concert where singer Chris Tomlin came on stage. Tomlin asked people to stand to worship to his song, and YB saw a woman next to him “full of passion, unbothered, unconcerned with everything that’s going on in the room and I just watch her worship. And I look up and I said ‘God, I don’t really know who You are or what You’re about, but if You gave her whatever it is that she has, I’m willing to give you a shot.’”
YB’s new album God Still Has Soldiers 2 is inspired by the injustice and division he saw in 2017. “The heartbeat of the album is to tell the listener to keep going… Even though we’ve embraced these setbacks, we still have a purpose to keep pushing forward.”
He says that Christians are like soldiers in how they stand on the front lines of culture pushing back against the new status quo that is leading people away from God.
“I believe on this project we took things to a whole new level.”
To record the album, YB tried to go in “with a clean slate.” Prayer is an important part of his writing process, asking God to give him guidance on what to say. “When I go into the studio and I hear a beat, once I hear that beat, the chorus comes, then after that, we slay the verses.” He says that the sound of this album is unlike any music he has made before.
YB describes his rapping as fast-paced to grab the listener, but slow enough to let them think about the words he is saying.
One of YB’s favorite songs introduces the album. “Fire Emoji” is a hard-hitting track that sets the tone for the album. “I want the listener to know [that] this album is a message… I truly have a message for the church.”
“Lose It All” reminds Christians that ultimately Earth is not their home, rather it is Heaven. “We hold on to more little gods that we would like to admit.” YB says that we cannot focus on desires for the pleasures of this world that lead us away from God.
YB’s experience with small-time celebrity status on tour and on social media inspired his song “Expressions.” He believed that listeners thought of him as a perfect person, which he is not. “There’s days when I’m tired. There’s days when I don’t feel like praying. There’s days when I don’t wanna be encouraging.” Most of all, he wants to remind his listeners that he needs Jesus as much as any other person.
He tells his musical journey in “Rear View Mirror.” As a teenager, YB’s dream was getting signed to a hip-hop label. That didn’t end up happening, but what his life has become he is grateful for because it is in accord with God’s will.
“Just follow the journey. It may not be what you wanted but it’s gonna be what you needed.”
“Love Cost” is about the needs for humans to love each other in this world full of conflict and hatred. “I feel as if social media has created this barrier between people to where you don’t interact with people at your local neighborhood store or coffee shop. You wait until you can depend on your fingertips to say, ‘I love you.’” YB says that to truly love your neighbor, it will cause some discomfort but is definitely worth it.
“Purpose” concludes the album and with it YB wants listeners to “be okay with God being God in your life.” He says that many people look outside of God and try to control their own futures, which he believes is ultimately God’s domain. “God doesn’t move when we want Him to move but He moves when He needs to move.” For years YB struggled with letting God take the reins of his life, but “making this album and watching God own this process, like I said, it ain’t been what I wanted but it’s what I needed. I’ve learned, and I’ve grown.”
Outside of music, YB enjoys graphic design and videography. “Telling a story through media, I love that.”
“The pressures we face in our society drag so many of us away from our full potential of being the people who radically impact the world we live in today. I personally know what that feels like. I know what it’s like to be cast out. I know what it’s like to be considered last. I know what it’s like to feel like you don’t measure up.The heartbeat of the record is to remind us of who we are. We are the people who don’t give up. We are the ones who keep believing. We are called. We are purposed. We don’t stop fighting. On this battlefield of life we are soldiers.”