While the Miami bass heyday of 2 Live Crew and company is over, its sound slowly fading into the past, there is a new generation of Miami rappers trying to give the city something else to shake to. South Florida native Yung Gordon is among them.
“I grew up in Opa-locka, Florida, and the Miami music in my neighborhood always influenced me to become interested in the music culture,” says the 24-year-old MC.
Gordon, whose birth name is Seth, says he discovered his talent for making music in his early teenage years. While he had a rough start getting the hang of things as an artist, eventually he found his voice.
“I was 14 years old when I first discovered I had talent in music,” the Opa-locka native says. “I was not the best at it, but as time passed, I worked hard to become better.”
Though Gordon’s internet success with songs like "Finna Hit My Walk" (which has over 67,000 views on YouTube) might seem like an overnight success, it's been a journey ten years in the making. These days you can even hear his music being played on local hip-hop station 99 JAMZ (WEDR-FM).
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Ask Gordon to describe his music, and he hits you with a flurry of millennial adjectives: “Turned Up, exciting, endless, lit."
Currently, he has three songs that are building a buzz for him across Miami as a party rapper: “Touch da Ground," “Finna Hit My Walk,” and “Bobble Walk." The music video for "Finna Hit My Walk" opens outside of Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School and closes with Gordon turning into a sort of zombie at the end of a party. Each song comes with its own unique dance too, which Gordon says isn't a very difficult thing to create.
“I just be around my friends, and we put our brains together and things start flowing." Having an accompanying dance for a rap song has been a proven method to help a track go viral, as we saw with Silentó's "Watch Me" (Whip/Nae Nae) and countless others.
Gordon also performed at the Back to School Jam concert August 20 at Overtown's Lyric Theater (819 NW Second Ave.). The concert featured noted Miami rappers Jimmy Dade and “Blow a Check” artist Zoey Dollaz.
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Despite Gordon’s local appeal, he's not worried about being able to expand beyond Miami, which is a task 305 rappers often have difficulty achieving. “People from other parts of the country will receive my music by... just feeling the music,” Gordon says. “I do my own thing by feeling the vibe in the music. No one can compare with my style and sound.”
While a lot of out-of-towners may be familiar with names like Rick Ross, Pitbull, and Flo Rida, it was the older Miami rappers that helped mold Gordon’s sound. “As a child, I grew up listening to DJ Rhymer, Uncle Luke, Piccolo, [and] COA Babe, just to name a few,” he says. “I always listened to their lyrics and beats, danced to their music, and rapped to all of their songs.”
In this digital era, how exactly do you measure success? It can be a tough thing to identify at times. Is it one million views on YouTube? Getting your music played on the radio? Whatever it might be to you, Gordon has a clear vision of what success means to him.
“I will be well-known,” he says. “I’ll be receiving numerous music awards and touring with major recording artists. My audiences will be larger, and I’ll be performing all over the world.”