42 Dugg is ready for his spotlight.
For much of his life, things have been uncertain. The rapper has had difficulty staying out of trouble, getting locked up for six years early in his life and being forced to grow up in the hole. Beginning to take rap seriously when he was in solitary confinement, 42 Dugg realized that he could make a career out of this, which would prevent him from needing to hustle to come up with money.
Signing a combination deal with Yo Gotti’s Collective Music Group and Lil Baby’s 4PF, 42 Dugg is easily one of the highest touted rappers in the country right now. He is in high demand and, after hearing his music, you’ll know exactly why.
Dugg brings a certain vulnerability to his sound that hasn’t been heard since Lil Baby came up. There’s a pain in his voice after having had to endure so much in his early days. When he gets in the studio, he taps in with his struggle to deliver some of the rawest and most emotive tracks in modern hip-hop.
Following the recent release of Young And Turnt 2, we hopped on a video call with 42 Dugg to speak about his newfound success.
Read our interview below, edited for clarity and length.
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HotNewHipHop: What’s up, Dugg? How’s it going?
42 Dugg: What’s good, my G. What you got going on?
Not much, man. I wanted to start off by congratulating you on the success of Young And Turnt 2.
What does it mean to be young and turnt?
To me, it just means having fun and living your life how it’s supposed to be lived. Turnt, going crazy in yo bag.
A lot of your music pertains to your experience in prison. You spent 6 years in jail. What for?
And you started rapping when you were in solitary confinement?
What was that like? Right now we’re all in quarantine and, just recently, Ellen DeGeneres got in trouble for saying that quarantine is like jail. What would you say to something like that?
Ain’t too far from it. We still get to do whatever we want, they ain’t on our ass. You get to move freely but you still got rules. You still gotta be somewhere at a certain time. In a sense, it is.
What are you doing to stay busy right now?
I’m doing everything. I ain’t tryna hear it.
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It’s a really distinctive sound coming out of Detroit right now. Who do you think is running the city?
Is there anybody in the city that you’re trying to work with on the next project?
I wanna work with Baby Money, my youngin’. We fuckin’ with him on my next tape. I fuck with Big Sean, I really fuck with everybody. If I don’t fuck with you then you know, but other than that, I fuck with you.
Speaking of Big Sean, he’s working on the new Detroit project right now. Is that something you’d be down to get on?
He hit me up, hell yeah I’d get on that bitch. I’m Detroit. He hit me on DM and said we could kick it. He posted my project.
You’re signed to 4PF and to CMG, Lil Baby and Yo Gotti. What are the differences in working with them and what came together from that partnership?
It came together two different ways but it’s real organic. I met Baby kicking it on some other shit. We formed a little close relationship. He asked to listen to my music and everything was history from there. With Gotti, somebody put Gotti on my music. He was like, “sh*t, what do we gotta do to make it happen?”
Somebody like Lil Baby, he’s only 25 himself. Do you consider him a mentor?
I consider him like a brother.
Do you have anything in the works with Baby as well?
You know he’s about to put the deluxe out, I might be on there. I don’t know. Gotta wait and see but I’m telling you, we going crazy.
What happened after your feature on “Grace?”
Wait till you hear this new shit. We vibe in the studio. I already know how he gon’ come, he already know how I’m gon’ come. Ain’t nobody slacking when they get on that. I know when the beat go on, me and him know you gotta come with that shit or you’ll get fucked over on this muhfucka.
It’s like a competition every time?
Yeah. Fasho. It’s like a friendly competition. Ain’t even gotta be nothing said. He know what it is, I know what it is. Let’s get it soon as the beat come on. Come with that shit. That’s the only way the song gon’ be right.
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In almost every song, you shout out your homies Nell, Reese, and others. What do they mean to you?
Them my uncles, you know? Nell got life, Reese died. They brothers. Nell, he still listen to the music. He still get to listen in jail. I just wanna let him know, I ain’t forgot about you bro. If there’s anything I can do, I’ma do it.
What was it like spending such a long time in jail? What’s your mentality in a situation like that?
Being safe. Getting home. That’s all you thinking about in that bitch. Just making it out how you came in that muhfucka. Muhfuckas will fuck you over in that bitch if you moving the wrong way, that’s why I just mind my business and get home.
After you got signed, once you got all that money, what was your first big purchase?
Man, I been turnt. That shit just joined what I had. I already had my deal money, I was just gambling and losing that shit. I bought a few watches. I had cash before that shit though. I just bought a few watches and kept it going really.
Who’s been the most surprising co-sign in this last year?
Tyler, the Creator. I was a little surprised when he hit me. But I’m hard, can’t nobody fuck with me.
On a song like “Been Turnt,” you’re communicating the prison experience with such anger and vulnerability. You can hear the emotion in your voice. How do you get back to that zone when you’re in the studio?
I really just trying to be very energetic. I was just tryna let you know, “bitch, I been on that shit. My n***as in jail still on this shit.” That’s the message I was tryna get across.
When you’re able to perform again after the quarantine, how crazy do you think that’s gonna be?
It’s gonna be crazy. I can’t wait for the reaction. Obviously, my Detroit show got rescheduled to May, so hopefully it’s that one. You know we ’bout to go crazy.
Do you have any dream collaborations?
I ain’t gonna say no dream collaborations because I ain’t really dreaming about no shit like that. I fuck with everybody, you know? Thug, Roddy [Ricch], but these muhfuckas I done kicked it with before. Thug is who I’m looking forward to, I ain’t gonna say I dreamed about that shit though.
What do you have coming next this year?
I’ma try to go deluxe. I just wanna keep this shit going. Gotta keep the wave up. I know summertime we gon’ come with something crazy. We gon’ pipe this bitch up.
Absolutely, man. Thanks for taking the time to talk, Dugg.
I appreciate you having me.