Ever since Leland Austin burst onto the music scene in 2008, the swag of future generations has been secure. Better known as Yung L.A., the Atlanta rapper’s infectious style has swarmed the airways, most notably with Grand Hustle general T.I. and 1st lieutenant Young Dro on, “Ain’t I.” The Grand Hustle family has been kind to Austin, who experienced several setbacks in his life. When L.A. did not receive the exposure he desired during the launch of his rapping career, he turned to selling narcotics as a means to survive. After the tragic deaths of his three closest friends, Austin turned away from drug dealing and back to the rap game. Performing at various cities across the south, his stage presence and high energy has captivated audiences like no other. Even in his humble beginnings, bouncing between the notorious East Lake Meadows and Thomasville Heights communities in Southeast Atlanta, L.A. has always been in a different lane. While his childhood friends aimed to look like each other, he literally flipped things wearing his clothes backwards like his favorite rap duo growing up, Kris Kross. So, it comes as no surprise to see him now rocking a Mohawk haircut with accompanying cameo designs. Says L.A., “I’m a trendsetter expressing my uniqueness. At the end of the day I know who I am and I’m doing something different, too many rappers these days conform.” He takes pride in the fact that he doesn’t hire a stylist to pick out his attention-getting outfits. Nor is he weighed down with pounds of heavy jewelry in an attempt to wear the hip-hop uniform of the day. “We’ve always had flavor in the inner city, the world just gets to see it now. It’s a new day and a new trend. Folks are tired of seeing the same thing.” [continued below]
Listen to Editor-In-Chief J.Write interview Yung L.A.
Growing up, L.A. used his love of sports to motivate him sonically. “Sports played a big part in my creative development,” says LA. “It taught me examples of hard work, dedication and passion – all things I brought with me into my music career.” He didn’t want to sound like other rappers and allowed his courage to be unique to drive him. “I developed a different sound,” states L.A. “The delivery is smooth, finesse-like without taking away from the lyrical message. You don’t have to be hard all the time to make a point. I think this ability helps me reach a wider audience of music lovers, and further sets me apart.”
Also setting him apart is his humble demeanor, which attracted people from all over who wanted to help him win. Among them were producer/rapper tandem Zaytoven and Gucci Mane. After working in their shadows, performing at numerous open mics and appearing on local mixtapes, as well as dropping his very own, Crush The Block in 2006, LA’s improvisational flow caught the hear of Young Dro. “[He] pulled up on me in Thomasville,” L.A. remembers about the fateful day in 2006. “I didn’t want to, but my friends convinced me to rap for him. So I just sat down next to him and started ripping. He said he was going to come back for me, and he did.” By May of 2007 he was officially signed.
Yung L.A. is currently signed to Grand Hustle Records/Interscope Records. His debut album, Futuristic Leland, will be later this year. You can find L.A. on many mixtapes, such as DJ Spinz‘s Offset Shawty (2008) and DJ Infamous‘ Black Boy Swag White Boy Tags (2009)
Young Dro featuring Yung L.A. – Take Off