Shaun Yerp, a New Jersey bred hip hop artist, recently caught headlines for the success of his 2020 project yerp The Mixtape, thanks to the viral success of his lead single off the project “IS U HAPPY WIT YO SELF?”. The success landed him a recording contract with Def Jam Records and the fast track to a new life in LA. We sat down with Shaun Yerp to talk about his experiences over the last year, Def Jam Records, and what we can expect from his music.
So to start things off, the most obvious thing to ask you and a topic that your fans are dying to find out is, where have you been musically as of late? Most people consider your 2019 project yerp as a breakthrough for you. The mixtape gained you a lot of acclaim on the east coast rap scene as well as nationally. What’s been the hold up for new music?
Depression…. I was diagnosed with depression this past February. Yerp The Mixtape, wow what a time for me! The thing about that project was my intent was to put out some music. I had been completely quiet with new music before that for about two years. So I wanted to get stuff out to stop starving my fans and then build momentum on it and drop the album right after. Instead, the extreme amount of life-changing events and situations put me in a different place. My name was growing in this game and I finally was able to go to major labels with my prestige justifying what I’m asking for contract-wise. Def Jam won that battle and my life changed forever for what most people would say the best. I was in a position to live off my own music instead of the work I do on other people’s music. It’s funny all that free time to create and all the love, affected me the exact opposite way negatively. It was a lot of pressure to outdo the success of a mixtape, I didn’t even plan on being popular, that I put on SoundCloud only and got so much love that Spotify bought it. It was breaking me down along with the pressure from the label to give them something new to promote, which I didn’t appreciate of the label
Have you and Def Jam parted ways? Tell us a little bit more about how your initial record contract came about and what’s been going on since then?
Well, I got signed to Def Jam after the success of yerp under Max Gousse Artistry World imprint. It’s a management deal so I still got ownership and my masters. Maybe that’s why they don’t promote me as much as people would expect because they only make money off of me from events and when I release music under the label. Yerp was completely self-produced and under my own company. I’m still working with them but you’ll see that more when the album comes and when we get back to doing shows out here in these pandemic streets haha.
So how did you get out of the dark place and start to create again as an artist?
It was the time I spent alone in LA, the success of yerp came at a very interesting time. The success and the fast change of pace gave me the ability to go to LA and the people I met out here sparked my creativity and allowed me to get out of a place of self-loathing like I couldn’t outdo myself again. I got in my zone out here under this beautiful weather and these dispensaries. Linking with a few artists out here shout out YG, Blvst, 24hours, etc., and networking around put me in a place to learn and be a student of this game again. I thank Def Jam for that, and I thank God for the placement deciding to put me in that place to get out of that dark spot. I can say for anybody that was going through what I was going through don’t give up on yourself and your goals you can do it if you make it through.
What’s your favorite thing about living in LA and how has your lifestyle changed from on the East Coast?
I am smashing Roscoe’s. I’m in the one on Picos every weekend and I order to the studio three times a week. I like going to Malibu and being on those beaches surrounded by rocks, it’s a vibe out here in California. Everybody knows this is my second home, the valley is where you will find me in the winter and Jersey is where you will find me in the summer. LA is going to be a major part of my life from now on for allowing me to network and the connections I made out here now and you’ll see more of that as this music drops.
What can we expect next from Shaun YERP now that we know where you’ve been?
I gotta keep that low it’s no fun if I tell y’all, know to keep ya ear to the streets I’m not too far off though. Bet that!