Atlanta rap artist Yung Mal bursted onto the scene some years back and through trial and error, has become a staple and go-to pick for collaborations. When he initially came with frequent collaborator Lil Quill, Yung Mal gained early co-signs from Gucci Mane amongst others. Branching off into his own lane, he’s been constantly dropping new music for the past several years such as 2019’s Iceburg, 2020’s 6 Rings, and so on.
This month, Yung Mal dropped his critically-acclaimed project 1.5 Way Or No Way. The title itself pays homage to Mal’s friends who have passed, including his brother whose Instagram handle inspired the name of the project. It boasts features from the likes of G Herbo, Slimelife Shawty, Lil Quill, and Pooh Shiesty who appears on the pre-release single “Walkin.” Over the span of the 16-track offering, Yung Mal steps into a new chapter of his career and CEO of his very own label.
We got to chat with Yung Mal in regards to his new project, picking the features on it, starting up his own record label, and more. Read the full conversation below.
Your project, 1.5 Way Or No Way, just dropped—how does it feel to finally put it out?
Yessirski! It feels good, I ain’t gone lie. I’m happy, it feels like my birthday. Everybody is telling me it’s some of my best work so far. I can feel it in my heart that my music is getting better and better. I’ma just keep going harder.
How did you go about picking the features on the project?
Taker and Quil, you know we always roll together, so we also had a lot of music together. As far as BIG30 and Pooh Shiesty, they were kind on some label stuff where I had my song recorded and my label sent it to them. But with BIG30, we actually got in the studio and cooked up. With G-Herbo, it was the same thing as Shiesty; my label sent it over to him. I had pulled up Slimelife Shawty though, but I had the song finished and opened the verse for him.
The project itself pays homage to some of your fallen soldiers as well, what encouraged you to make that decision?
Yeah, that was the where the whole name came from. Just coming from my bro just died, it was just to keep it going.
What sparked your transition to starting your own label 1.5 Da Label?
I got my own label going on, I’m real excited about that. I’m just working right now, just trying to get everything off the ground. I wasn’t going to be a rookie forever. I had to become a big player or a head coach, that’s just how I looked at. Just leveling up and helping people.
With that being said, what traits or talents are looking for in some of the artists and producers you sign?
They need to be ready to work. That’s when I get to that point, right now I’m just focusing on me and my niggas from my hood. Like I’m really just working with them right now and trying to see how the whole thing goes then I’m going to start reaching out to other artist.
Outside of that, what’s one of the most valuable lessons that you’ve learned on your journey to being a CEO so far?
Safety. You gotta watch your surroundings, watch how you move. You can’t be at a certain place at a certain time. You have to make sure you avoid going to jail, that’s one of the main things. Staying safe and free.
What advice would you give to all the up-and-coming rappers trying to follow in your footsteps?
Really just keep grinding. It might take a year, it might take two years, it might take six months. All you gotta do is keep grinding, you can’t give up. Even if you drop something and it goes number one, you should be ready to go number one again. You gotta stay on top of your game and keep working, that’s all I really do.
If you enjoyed our chat with Yung Mal, check out our conversation with Lil West!