Chattanooga hip-hop and rap artist Yz DREAM discusses how his career began and how
he believes the Black Lives Matter movement has impacted music.
Photos by @ufilmme
Yz DREAM has been making music and immersing himself in the Chattanooga hip-hop community for almost two decades. While his more recent success has allowed him to venture to Atlanta and different areas of Tennessee to create work, he shared that he wouldn’t be where he is today without the support system he had in Chattanooga as a young artist.
“Back when I was a kid, my homies in the hood made music and all of us loved it,” he said. “I’ll never forget I when I was ten years old, one of my boys started on a song and asked me to get on the second verse. I was shocked he asked me and was nervous as [expletive] because he’d never even heard me rap before, but I guess he just believed that I could do it.”
Seeing how well the song was received by friends and peers gave him hope for a future in the music industry, he shared.
“Once I saw their reaction, it basically confirmed that I really could do this music [expletive]. So, from that moment forth I stuck with it,” he said.
At 16 years old, Yz DREAM was honored to be a part of the rap group Money Squad Boyz with local rappers Kay B Brown and Lil Lan. The group would go on to perform together in Chattanooga and even won their first talent show together at the Memorial Auditorium.
Several years later, he began performing solo in Atlanta, frequenting open mics at places like Apache Cafe. He shared that the change of pace and scenery really helped him to grow professionally.
“That molded me more as an artist and boosted my confidence, performing in front of big crowds,” he said. “I’m thankful for those experiences.”
In 2017, Yz DREAM filmed his first major music video for his song Workaholics, which was shot and produced by AK Films. Later, in 2019, he released a video for his song Rising Sun, which was shot and produced by Tyler Media.
Photos by Tyler Media
Yz DREAM shared that he believes the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality and systemic racism has positively affected both his music and the rap community.
“I can honestly say it’s made my music more serious than ever,” he said. “I think artists should make music speaking on issues in the world today … music that makes you want to change your life, be more positive and become your greatest self.”
“Continue leveling up in all aspects of your life,” he continued, extending a challenge to his fellow musicians. “Music is powerful, so if artists create good music with powerful messages, it’s win-win in my eyes. That music lives forever!”
He also acknowledged the importance of community-building through events like open mics, especially in trying times (like a social movement against racism or global health crisis) when artists and fans could truly benefit from candid discourse and mutual support.
“Those events always bring creatives together,” he said. “It’s how we network, create and build with one another.”
Yz DREAM recently released a single titled College Gurls, which can be streamed on iTunes and Spotify. He also filmed a music video for his new song Mobbin’ with Good Vibes with Tyler Media and Southern Tea Media, which is coming soon!