Detroit rapper Young RJ brings all vibes on his new album ‘World Tour’

He joined CultureShift to talk about what it was like to grow up around musical legends like J Dilla, and to share some music from the album.

Young RJ poses in front of the WDET sign

Young RJ poses in WDET's studios on Oct. 28, 2022.

Rapper and producer Young RJ was born into music. His father, Ralph Rice, is the co-founder of the original Slum Village and the founder of the group RJ’s Latest Arrival. Now, Rice owns the rights to the music created under RJ’s Latest Arrival and the Slum Village catalogue. 

Young RJ joined CultureShift to talk about what it was like to grow up around such musical legends, and to share some music from his new album, World Tour.

“Rap today is the wild, wild west. You got a little of this and a little of that… it’s a free for all.” — Young RJ, rapper and producer

He says his father taught him valuable lessons about maintaining agency over his own work in the music industry.

“I understood why he told me all these years, ‘Own what you do and put the hard work in. Do everything from front to back: engineer the record, make the beat, rap on the song, put the tour together and there’s no one to blame but yourself.'”

Throughout his life, Young RJ worked with the late J Dilla, whose influence on rap and hip-hop reaches out of Detroit and across the genre. 

Young RJ says Dilla took him under his wing when he first started creating beats.

“Dilla stayed behind, and he was like, ‘You know what, imma show you some stuff on this machine and when I come back, I want to see what you learned and then imma show you some more stuff,” said Young RJ.

Young RJ’s career quickly took off at just 16, producing for acts like Korupt. He then went on to work with acts like Pete Rock and of course Slum Village.

 

 

Young RJ’s latest album, World Tour, is a collection of melodic beats and soulful hooks. The album is a vibe initiated by the title track, “World Tour.” He says this song is all about what an artist wants from their career.

“It boils down to how long you want to stay in the business. You have people that have songs, they explode, [then their] stage show is horrible.”

As for the state of the industry right now, Young RJ says, “Rap today is the wild, wild west. You got a little of this and a little of that… it’s a free for all.”

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Author

  • Tia Graham

    Tia Graham is a reporter and Weekend Edition Host for 101.9 WDET. She graduated from Michigan State University where she had the unique privilege of covering former President Barack Obama and his trip to Lansing in 2014.