The word "gangster" has many different connotations depending on who you ask. Some envision bandanas while others think of faceless criminals. Nevertheless, there are a couple of good things that are constantly attached to that dubious noun; determination, smarts, respect and the control of your own destiny. 20-year old rapper/producer Young Capone
epitomizes those aspects.
While he borrows his moniker from a notorious Chicago gangster named Albert; this younger reincarnation was born Rodriquez Smith in South Atlanta's rough-edged Thomasville Heights community.
A product of a working-class family, Young Capone was raised by his grandmother and the streets equally. Witnessing the lowly-behavior that often comes along with deprived living condition caused him to grow up fast, not giving him the opportunity to make a lot of childhood friends.
Instead, the self-admitted attention-craver found companionship in his older brother and cousins who as he states "were living the life I wanted to lead." Even though their hustle-by-day/party-by-night lifestyle attracted his young eyes, it was the music they listened to that intrigued him the most.
Citing 2Pac as the first artist that captured his full attention, Young Capone was also exposed to the likes of Southern Hip Hop icons Outkast
and 8Ball & MJG
. Before long, the youngster was memorizing the raps, which lead to him writing his own.
The teenage years that followed saw him relocate from Thomasville to East Atlanta suburb Decatur. Upon entering Columbia High School Young Capone was already laying the foundation to become the star he always wanted to be. Whether it was playing tailback for the school football team or being a frequent patron of the highly-popular Golden Glide skating rink, Capone was making himself known.
It wasn't until he started going to local teen clubs that he saw rap music as the ultimate attention-getter. In partying at a young age, Young Capone witnessed the humble beginnings of then underground local sensations Lil Scrappy
and Crime Mob
Anxious to try his hand at the craft full time, Young Capone befriended his schoolmate T-Rock (who is featured on Capone's first single "I'm Hot") and began recording and performing music. From there his passion lead him to found his own crew, get his own beat-producing software and build his own studio in his grandmother's basement -- all by the age of 17.
Not stopping there, Young Capone took another business step and hired a manager who soon crossed paths with So So Def-affiliated producer Nitti. Upon hearing the upstart rapper's original version of "I'm Hot," Nitti recruited him into his Playmaker Music production unit. That union led to Young Capone's placement on the widely successful Jermaine Dupri
presents Young, Fly & Flashy Vol.1
However, it's not yet safe to say that "the rest is history," because there is more ground for Young Capone to break.
His debut album Big Faces and Bright Lights is set to impact the rap industry. Starting with the Nitti produced lead single entitled "What It Is" and a balance of songs that that reveal details of his life, the world will have nothing but pure admiration for Young Capone's brand of "gangster."
Listen to Young Capone's "What It Iz":
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