Tré Yung: The Brooklyn Lyricist and Beat Master Talks About Dark ‘N’ Sharp & Giving Back
Brooklyn rapper Tré Yung began making music while attending Kingsborough Community College as a promising track star, but was soon booted from the track team for smoking weed, a vice he remains unapologetic about. Rather than sulk, Yung saw the dismissal as a callto-action to dive into writing, recording, and touring. He linked up with producer, Llama, who’d previously worked with Grammy-nominated artists Ryan Leslie and Fetty Wap, and released his debut album, Parkside Prospect in 2017. The album produced the cult hit, “Now A Days” and led to a worldwide tour.
Yung’s latest album, Dark ‘N’ Sharp, released in June 2019, features 16 tracks that speak to Yung’s eclectic musical inspirations, which go beyond hip-hop culture. Yung’s bold language and inflection, and his fearless use of beats pull from genres that transcend rap. “I make feel-good music, and I’m not stuck in any one particular sound. I’ve gained inspiration from artists like Drake, Jay-Z, Future and Biggie; but I’ve also drawn inspiration from artists like Andre 3000, Good Charlotte, All-American Rejects, and Lincoln Park. That diversity comes through my music.” The album’s standout singles are “Coastin’”, “Waistline”, “Sire” and ‘Spotlight.”
The Flatbush rapper puts an iconic New York stamp on his music. “I feel like each borough has their own style, but it’s all still cut from that same New York cloth,” he says. “New York is a melting pot and there are people from so many walks of life who claim New York and put out music, but the lyrics in my songs give away that I’m a New York artist.”
Yung is paying more than lip service to Flatbush, Brooklyn. For every thousand streams of Yung’s album, Dark ‘N’ Sharp, he is donating $5 to CHiPS, a Brooklyn-based non-profit organization close to his heart, that is helping to provide food and shelter to homeless single mothers and their children.
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Your latest album Dark ‘N’ Sharp has so many different sounds. Each track has a distinctly different flow. To what do you credit the versatility of your music?
Tré Yung: Dark ‘N’ Sharp is the album I thought I couldn’t make, until I did. I had never pushed myself as much as I did on this album, and it was an incredible experience. I’ve always been a perfectionist, but on Dark ‘N’ Sharp, we took it to a whole other level. Every sound on every track was analyzed, thought about, and ultimately made. I pushed myself, creatively, in ways I honestly didn’t even realize I could. The adventure of pushing myself and discovering new places I could go musically was the direct result of creative experimentation and the benefits that come along with experimenting because we found what worked and stuck with it.
Tell me about your ongoing collaboration with producer, Llama. Why do you vibe so well together?
TY: Llama is the big brother I didn’t know I needed. His head is on straight, and like me, he desperately wanted to better his situation. We’re both from Brooklyn and we are both dedicated to building something long lasting. We’re confident that we can be the next generation to continue to represent our borough and provide an example to everyone who comes from where we come from. We worked together for approximately a year before we put Dark ‘N’ Sharp together. It was a no brainer.
What classic rap albums would you bring with you to a deserted island?
TY: Reasonable Doubt by Jay-Z, Ready to Die and Life After Death by Notorious B.I.G., The Stoned Immaculate by Currensy, & Take Care by Drake.
I know that philanthropy is important to you, and you donate part of the proceeds from your album sales to CHiPS, a Brooklyn, New York organization that provides resources for homeless mothers and their children. What about CHiPS touched your heart and made you want to help?
TY: CHiPS is where the hear t is, right in Brooklyn. It’s an incredible organization that helps single mothers who are homeless, providing them with food and shelter. Everyone has been in tough situations before, of various levels of severity, and I truly believe that it is the community that helps everyone get out of those tight spots. Community, and especially the Brooklyn community from which I hail, has always been supportive of me. It is important for me to continue to support my home. My entire life, even when I didn’t have the financial means to do so, I would always try to help in any way I could. The fur ther this music takes me, the more I’ll be able to continue to help.
Do you ever get to Miami, and will you be performing in Miami any time soon?
TY: I love Miami and it will always have a special place in my heart. The first ever single I put out was called Bankroll and I shot the music video in Miami. It was a special experience in a special town, and I love going back. In terms of performances, I would love to get back and show out for the people. Bringing some of Brooklyn to the Miami energy would be huge. My team is constantly working out new places for me to tour and I can be down in Miami on a moment’s notice.
How would you describe the overall sound of Dark ‘N’ Sharp? Fans of which current artists will resonate with your music?
TY: Dark ‘N’ Sharp is what I like to call “the epitome of feel-good music.” The music could resonate with anyone that’s into good music, from fans of Sade to someone who is a fan of Chief Keef, the music doesn’t discriminate.
Dark ‘N’ Sharp is available through iTunes and on all major music streaming services. Visit www.treyung.com. For every 1,000 streams of the album funds will be donated to CHiPS, serving New York City homeless mothers and children.