Never broke again. That’s the goal for Kentrell DeSean Gaulden aka NBA Youngboy. Baton Rouge’s rising star appears to have put himself in position to achieve that and much more.
Let’s be real – the story of NBA Youngboy could be approached from a variety of angles. He broke his neck at age 4, that’s tough enough, but there’s more. There’s the story line about being raised by his grandmother and left alone to navigate North Baton Rouge after her passing. Or, perhaps, I could write the story about when Youngboy took the game into his own hands, forgoing his education after 9th grade to focus on simply surviving & rapping. If that’s not enough inspiration, the guy turned a 6-month robbery sentence into a writing session that catapulted his career. Now, after releasing 38 Baby (listen below) and a stockpile of great new work this year, the 16-year-old NBA Youngboy has major labels calling his name. Despite all the adversity during his young life, Kentrell Gaulden now has a tremendous opportunity to make a massive footprint in the rap game and his community.
In North Baton Rouge, nothing is guaranteed. Just take one look at the video for “What I Was Taught” and you’ll see that protection is necessary at all times. That constant acknowledgement of death and the finality of every decision is a weight that you can hear overwhelmingly in Youngboy’s voice across all his work. Perhaps that’s why he resonates so strongly in the south and why he’s the newest Baton Rouge rapper to have his hometown on lock. His rhyme style deals directly with the realities of an unsympathetic community, telling stories that so many people can identify with across the entire country.
For NBA Youngboy, none of this early success would have been possible without his NBA brothers lifting him up and protecting him at all costs. Always loyal to those who support him, NBA Youngboy stays surrounded by his closest friends while still enjoying the allure of labels and the benefits of success in the music industry. For a kid who should still be in high school, that is a pretty wise move.
With the mindset that every day could be his last, Youngboy understands that no future is certain and that emotional edge might just be his best attribute as a rapper. Having recently released Mind of a Menace 3, 38 Baby and a slew of other projects, it certainly feels like there is plenty of creative inspiration to keep him working for a long time.
In a time where Baton Rouge is coping with some very serious issues, NBA Youngboy has risen as a voice in that community and he’s being heard across the nation. In Chicago and in many other American towns, people are facing similar struggles. So while simply trying to never be broke again, NBA Youngboy has found himself in a position to identify with so many people and potentially make an impact like he never imagined.
If you haven’t already – take a good long listen to 38 Baby or any of his work for that matter. Hip-Hop fans across the board will be happy they did.