Allison Kugel: Do you pray, and if so, who or what do you pray to?
Yellopain: I’m Christian, so I pray every day all day. Not day by day, but moment by moment. Before everything I pray. Before this, I prayed. I pray to Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit. I pray for things. I pray in gratitude. I thank God all the time. I come from a really big family, so that has been my first response in so many different circumstances. People tell me “Hey, I’m going through this.” I don’t have the resources to change everybody’s life, but I know who does have the resources, so I instantly go into prayer.
Allison Kugel: What was your home city of Dayton, Ohio like growing up? And what has changed over the years?
Yellopain: It’s a small city, so the part I’ve experienced is, like, small town mentality. I haven’t met the level of friendliness from the people in my hometown anywhere else in the world, but as far as resources, as far as opportunity, I didn’t see a lot of that and it was tough. I grew up in a house with a lot of siblings, and when I say a lot, it’s not even a defined number because I have the type of parents that just showed love to anybody that needed it. It wasn’t resources, it was difficult.
Allison Kugel: Where does the name Yellopain come from?
Yellopain: It’s from the type of music I make. I’m not going to tell you my old rap name because I still have to delete some videos. That name wasn’t as cool, so I needed a name to represent the type of music I made, and the music I make is enjoyable but at the same time I put a lot of my life story and my pain into it. You don’t listen to it to cry. You listen to it for joy. Yellow is a color that represents happiness. And pain represents everything I’ve ever been through, so Yellopain is a happy representation of my pain.
Allison Kugel: What do you think you came into this life to learn, and what do you think you came here to teach?
Yellopain: That’s a great question. Every now and then I think my purpose is one thing and then it goes into another thing. I thought I was going to be this super lit rapper and then I made a song that went viral. I made a song about drug addiction. My uncle had just recently passed, and I live in a community where it was the number one city for drug overdose deaths. People overdosed right outside my front door, so it was those types of experiences that made me passionate about that subject matter. Then I was performing, flying around to different rehab facilities throughout America and I thought, “Okay, maybe this is my calling. Maybe God is calling me to be compassionate for people struggling with addiction.” But as I continued, it went into another place. Now it’s the voting space, and even in the voting space it was the song, but now it’s a documentary film. I don’t believe in just one purpose. I believe in assignments, and I think God puts us all on assignments. I take every assignment seriously, and I try to execute it to the best of my ability
Allison Kugel: Where and when can people see your upcoming documentary about government and our voting system?
Yellopain: Right now we’re doing private screenings at different universities and colleges, and we are looking for the perfect platform to make sure it has the biggest impact. We’re in communication with a lot of different streaming services and platforms. America has needed these tools to get people interested in voting and to understand the voting process. Nobody’s teaching it.
Alliosn Kugel: Have you linked up with a major label, or are you still independent?
Yellopain: No, no. I’m fully independent right now.
Allison Kugel: You are considered a viral sensation in the music space. You built a tremendous grassroots fanbase. What’s the secret sauce for going viral in such a crowded space?
Yellopain: I think first you have to have some level talent and skill in what you’re doing. If you’re going to go viral for the right thing and for the right reasons, it comes down to authenticity, to be honest. I speak about a lot of things that people probably wouldn’t speak about, because why would they put that in the rap? Why would they? The authenticity has always made it go viral. It’s original and it’s authentic. Anything you see viral, it’s viral because you’ve never seen it before, and it throws you off in some kind of way. I think that’s what happened.
Allison Kugel is a veteran entertainment journalist and host of the Allison Interviews podcast. Watch her extended interview with YelloPain on YouTube or listen to the extended interview on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Follow Allison Kugel on Instagram @theallisonkugel and at AllisonInterviews.com.