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One-On-One: The Story Behind Rising Rapper, Producer Young Orange (Exclusive Interview)

Diving into the early, budding career of rapper/producer Young Orange, we explore the hard work and dedication put in to the New Jersey product’s work so far.

Rapper Young Orange poses during a photoshoot.
Credit: Phil Romeo

Growing up in Neptune, New Jersey, before heading northbound to Lacey, grinding rapper/producer Young Orange has been inching toward success for almost a decade. First uploading his beginning bodies of work on YouTube around 2017, he now sits as one of the most prominent up-and-coming artists out of the Garden State.

The budding musician has 143,000 subscribers huddling around his YouTube channel waiting for his next move, partnered with over 32,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. Sitting down with Young Orange, it is evident that his immense talent will continue to take him further to fame.

Composed and humble, Orange was raised in a musical family. His father showed him the ropes of instruments and the introduction to mastering production on the first editions of GarageBand. Experimenting with his talents since the age of 7, it was evident that he was poised for success in the music industry, developing the heart and drive to build himself into a future star through long trials of producing and perfecting his lyricism.

“When I was 7, I first started messing with the guitar, basically on my own I never really had anyone teach me too much I just figured it out and how to play over time,” Orange said. “ I started playing around with GarageBand on my parent’s computer when I was 10, just making beats, songs, and other stuff and putting those on YouTube.”

YouTube was an early way for Orange to display his early rapping and producing, crafting tracks over pre-made beats before making his own. The unique ability to rap and grow is a skill few can master in the music community, having to lay down all the components for the instrumental and the fitting lyricism to go along with it.

“Once I really started to figure out how to structure a song with a snare and drums, I took that as if it was a YouTube beat and made a song over it. I had made a couple of hundred songs before that of just me on other people’s beats,” Orange said.

Revolving his vibe around melodic rap, several pioneers in hip-hop, such as Russ and the late Speaker Knockerz, showed Young Orange how he could balance out his distinctive producing and vocal expertise,

“I saw a lot of videos, behind the scenes videos of him [Speaker Knockerz] making certain hit songs of his, and I was thinking, ‘so this dude really does this shit like makes his own beats. In the beginning that [Speaker Knockerz] was my biggest influence, around the very beginning for when I started making songs, how he just slides on anything.”

His first batch of beats may not have been his best pieces of work, but through experimenting with the various levels of snares, bass, and other elements for instrumentals, he soon became finely tuned with what went into the behind-the-scenes of a hit track.

Releasing his own songs in 2017, he didn’t gain traction until the blow-up of his 2018 single “Good Luck,” currently sitting at over 2.5 million plays on Spotify and 1.1 million views on YouTube. Challenging himself with new skills on “Good Luck,” the track stuck out to him as a progress milestone and a major piece in his career thus far and he appreciates the fan support of his talents. 

“That’s [“Good Luck”] the first time I picked up the guitar and tried to put it in my music for a self-produced song and it just happened to be my biggest song. Honestly I don’t know what to think…I’m grateful.”

-Young Orange

Not only does “Good Luck” stand out in his discography as a chunk of success, but the single “Found” encapsulates periods of figuring out his identity following traumatic incidents and the true backstory for the up-and-coming rapper’s reason to create this hit. 

After he was expected to release his first mixtape on June 21, 2019, the grinding and self-promotion came to a halt, picking up the pieces after the death of his friend, one of his biggest supporters, the same day, sparking the deeper values rooted within “Found.”

“He loved my music, and he was always like before my music ever got any traction, ‘dude, this is going to blow up.’” Orange said. “It felt great to get it out for sure, and I was happy; it was well-received and has over a million (streams) on Spotify now.”

“Something is lost that I cannot find, just checked the lost and found for my mind,” he belts at the song’s start as a period of grief, before transitioning to deeper ties to his friend and the memories they shared. “I just wanna say, ‘hi,’ but we can’t change time, all those great times, bro, you had a great life,” is infused within the middle verse.

“Found” would drop on August 23, 2019, two months after the passing of his friend and the release of his tape Don’t Waste Time, a critical portion of Orange’s journey to the top. 

Drifting towards the future, the anticipation is to continue to grow into a flourishing artist, already possessing the tools to place him as a valuable member of the industry. Releasing three singles in 2022, “Had Enough,” “Better Photos,” and “Love Feelin’ Insane,” Young Orange is gearing up for more content in the new calendar year. 

“In anyone’s life, the point is just to grow, do better, build up whatever you’re trying to do, and do the best you can, so I’m just trying to keep going and grow,” Orange said. “I’m trying to get more consistent with it and add on and drop more music videos on YouTube. I’m trying to get more content out.”

Pushing new content and establishing his self-directing abilities through music videos, it’s what is behind the content he feels is giving him the most momentum moving forward. 

“I want to build real momentum with singles, drop singles and feed the fans. I want them to be happy,” Orange said. “I feel like music is powerful, and it helps people for real. My music has a good vibe, and it’s different.”

As his songs continue to gain more and more grip from mainstream attention, Young Orange will be a figure to watch throughout 2023 and the years to come, slowly hustling his way to the top of the charts.

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