“YB is a leader who makes music to inspire his listeners and supporters to take action.”
Hip-hop was a massive influence on YB’s formation as a child. Growing up in a fatherless home, the Pine Bluff, Arkansas native looked up to artists as role models. “They were a breath of fresh air for me.”
He started rapping at age eight in the company of one of his three older brothers. “To me, rapping was so cool. I remember being in my older brother’s room, and he had all of his friends in the room, and they were all hanging out.” The group was freestyling with a tape recorder. “My brother handed me the mic, and he was like, ‘Man, you [should] rap.’ My heart was going at least ninety miles per hour.” It was an incredible experience for him, and YB’s love for hip-hop continued to grow from there.
This month, YB released a new album, Fire & Desire. “I want the listeners to walk away knowing that when life gets hard, no matter how low the valley
“If you let God mold you, break you, and build you back up, you’re going to be thankful that you held His hand in that process.”
YB traditionally writes and records his albums over months, but this project was completed in a matter of weeks. Most of Fire & Desire was recorded and mixed by YB in his home studio. “Being involved in the entire process of this album definitely changed the way I want to do albums.”
The album’s introductory song, “Fire Emoji 2,” starts the project with energy and passion.
“This album is nothing like my previous releases where I was experimenting… I was way more intentional about capturing the energy of each song.”
“Dear Soldiers” addressed a potential fan’s perspective that YB “has it all together.” He seeks to pull the curtain back, sharing the struggles that he experiences, including worrying about his family’s finances, attempting to be a leader, and suffering from depression. “It’s being transparent with my supporters saying, ‘Hey guys, I need God too.'”
“Worth It” is another song seeking to share humility and openness. “I’m not special. God isn’t giving me the GPS to exactly where I’m going.” YB is sharing with listeners about how he has experienced God’s grace when having stepped out on faith.
“I want that to be an encouragement because I believe God is calling us all to something great, but it’s going to require us taking baby steps towards him.”
YB seeks to encourage listeners to not follow peer pressure and cultural trends if it is leading them away from God’s call for their lives. People have said to him, “Do this, and you’ll have more followers” or “If you go here, people will notice you.” He finds joy in knowing that God is pleased with him when he makes the right decisions to pursue holiness.
On “Clark Kent,” YB uses the story of Superman as a metaphor for the Holy Spirit. “It’s like Christians have a superpower. When life gets hard for us, we can tap into a direct line to God. That won’t guarantee that things will get easier, but we are special.”
“Weight” shares more of YB’s experience and perspective with facing pressure. “You’re fighting to be righteous, and you’re fighting to serve. You’re fighting to be obedient, but that’s never easy.” Recalling times on tour when he had to balance ministering to his audience while being present to his family and friends at home, he said, “the whole song embodies my entire journey.”
YB speaks about how putting his full trust in God led him to his marriage on “Diamond in the Dirt.” He met his wife, Tammy, in college. “We had the same degree, but we never took the same classes.” They ended up meeting at a Halloween party.
“She won the best dressed with her costume, and I was the photographer. I turned around, and she was right in front of me. I took her picture, and the rest is history.”
Outside of music, YB enjoys photography, playing basketball, and spending time with his wife and daughter, Kylie. He is also a coffee addict. Whenever he travels, he finds the best coffee shops in town and gets a cup. His favorite coffee drink is called “Up All Night” from Zetêo Coffee in Little Rock, Arkansas.
“Every artist can relate that what we do isn’t easy, but to see my music connect with one person means the world to me.”