Yung Mal has a lot on his mind. It’s September, and up until now, rapping is mostly how he’s processed a year in confinement: several months in jail, and now house arrest. In his first interview since coming home in January, the rapper spoke to BRICK about his musical process, where he’s headed next, and how his support system has helped him navigate incarceration.
"We’ve experienced a lot of life in the past year. We’ve grown up a lot, very quickly." In BRICK's Edition 05 cover story, BROCKHAMPTON reflect on their rise, before all jumping into a freezing cold pool for our photoshoot.
Like many of his peers that have been churning out a high volume of tapes on SoundCloud, the twenty-six-year-old from Cobb County, Georgia is a proud student of Gucci Mane, Lil Wayne, and the countless Southern rap stars that dominated DatPiff.com less than two decades ago. “I'm from Atlanta, this is embedded in me,” he proclaims, gliding between his living room and front porch during the duration of our hour-long interview. “It's in my veins, that style of music. That's why I ain't silent.”
In just four years, Lil Baby has attained all the signifiers of modern rap excellence — hyperproductivity, a heavy presence on the charts, and a growing list of successful neophytes — and it only took him about half as long as it did for his predecessors.
Some people don’t want to improve; some people don’t like to be pushed. But I do. If I’m happy to stay at the same level and make another album like Stillness in Wonderland, I could have done that in no time. But that’s not growth to me, that’s not evolution.”
In the days leading up to the release of the eight kinetic tracks that comprise their new album At Least We Tried, BRICK connected with Surf Gang to learn more about their next chapter.
On the heels of the rapper’s self-titled project Highway, we spoke at length about his roots and moving back and forth, the city’s unique culture, the importance of maintaining his independence artistically, and more.
Durk’s latest album, The Voice, isn’t celebratory in tone. Much of it is a poignant look into the pain, loss, and tragedy that have surrounded his ascent. “I always found my lane was to be soulful, to speak to my past,” he tells Atoosa Moinzadeh.
As a born-and-raised New Yorker, the word “hip-hop” was synonymous for the culture of my city as I grew up; as a man from the Bronx, even more so. Every street I walked on as a kid had been graced by legends of the game, but none so great as Grandmaster Flash.
On the eve of her latest EP, Coi Leray opens up about growth, being prepared for your moment, and the power of trusting your process. 
If industry pioneer Soulja Boy set the tone for how his generation’s rap is distributed, KEY! is the artist who influenced its dominant sound and swagger, serving as an unofficial “A&R” for both Atlanta’s emerging talent and the SoundCloud generation, never resting on his laurels for a second.
“My music is talking about my perspective, but also trying to tap into everybody else's mind, being like, ‘Do you feel this way? Are you sad some days? Do you cry in the shower? I do too. Let's talk about it.’”