YGTUT talks new album, musical direction and more [Interview]

After taking time off to regroup, YGTUT is ready to fully reintroduce himself as an artist. When we first spoke, the Chattanooga rapper was undergoing a transitional period in his life. Through this phase, his determination grew to fulfil the vision he originally set for himself and his career. “Can’t nobody make your dreams happen for you, but you. Regardless of whatever happens and goes left, you [have to] stay determined to do what you have to do to be where you need to be.”

The phase also helped YGTUT understand his purpose within the music. The growth became clear upon the release of his last EP Black Benz. The project finds him taking a more focused direction with his songwriting. It’s a choice that he purposely made as he seeks to establish his own lane for his sound. 

When he first hit the scene with his breakout mixtape Preacher’s Son, it instantly garnered buzz for fusing his Southern rap influences with his introspective lyrics that teeter between life, religion, and family. Despite its success, the project didn’t carry a central idea around it that could mold a solid description for his sound. “Once I started to really think about myself and what’s true to me… that made all the difference in the world.” That self-reflection is exactly what helped him centralize his messaging. Instead of choosing to lean towards a certain idea, he embraced them all and struck a balance within them.

“I always knew what my purpose was, but I would try to shy away from it… I don’t want everyone to view me as the go-to church n***a in this rap sh*t. But when I started to realize, I can really say something that’s going to help people. I started looking at it that way.”

All of these recent revelations come together as he returns with his new album, In My Head. The eighteen-track LP showcases a reenergized YGTUT, sounding more ambitious than ever before. Upon entrance of the album is a distorted voice that’s ready to guide listeners along the journey. When the question arose of what the album could be about, he refrained from mentioning much besides the concept being very mental. “It ain’t a mind game, but you know… life’s a mind game, you know?”

The cryptic synopsis proves to be true as the project plays like a hallucinogenic maze through his psyche with its woozy production and introspective themes. In My Head is a strong offering for the Tennessee artist as he mixes his trademark voice with his experimental leaps. This is more than just his return: it’s a signification of his true artistry’s evolution. Instead of running from the idea of becoming the “preachy” type, he delivers his messages and substance by tackling the conflicts within himself.

Everything from his internal battles (“Thinkin Bout”) to close relationship strains (“Smile”) to hunger (“Animal”) is brought to the forefront and in detail.  That goes especially for his love of his birthplace, Chattanooga. The hometown spirit kicks into high gear, as mentions of the Tennessee town make various appearances on bangers like the exhilarating track “Big Tenn”. No matter where he goes, YGTUT reps Chattanooga like it’s tatted on his sleeve. 

Lookouts fitted to the back, cellphone be hella packed,

N****s know I come from Chatt had to represent” – YGTUT from “Big Tenn”

Since he began to pursue rapping, he made it his mission to take his city with him. Rather than latching onto a neighboring music scene, the “Dolla Signs” songwriter is set on putting Chattanooga on the map. In his eyes, the city and its music scene has always had its own untold story to share.

As for YGTUT, he definitely knows what story he intends to tell. If there’s one thing that’s always been consistent within his music is the authenticity behind it. That doesn’t mean everything he speaks is righteous or sinister, but just as honest as he can put it in a song. Every time he leads with that upon creating is when he’s able to deliver some of his best. If In My Head is an indication, it’s no telling how far he’ll take it sticking to that formula.

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