Young M.A.: “I don't think anything I’ve done was a failure"
The Brooklyn rapper and entrepreneur on fame, fate and feeling that the future would be better with a Rihanna collab.
This story originally appeared in i-D's 'Rihannazine' Special Edition, no. 01, 2020. Order your copy here. For this one-off project, Rihanna put a series of questions to the women shaping culture today, and invited them to share their visions for 2020.
Can you introduce yourself?
What up, what up, this is Young M.A., man. One of the hottest artists outside, man.
What makes you feel successful?
I first started feeling it when I went viral on Facebook for a freestyle I did, and I got mad attention, mad followers. People just came in a wave, like: who is this, who is this? That was the beginning right there. It was like, “Oh, I’ve got your attention now -- I’m gonna go hard.” So that’s what I did.
What do you think your biggest personal or professional success has been so far?
My biggest success? Definitely when I dropped the most classic record in the world,"OOOUUU". That’s the vibe right there. Everybody went crazy. That’s when I knew, oh, this is fame, man. This ain’t just going viral, where people give you attention and talk about you for a couple of weeks. When that dropped, it was like: you in it, now.
What would you consider to be your biggest failure?
I don't think anything I’ve done was a failure. I don’t understand why anybody would think anything they learned from was a failure. It is what it is. I don’t believe I’ve failed at anything. No failures.
What do you believe in most?
I believe in God most. Everything happens for a reason, I believe in that. I believe in fate, I believe in instinct. To me, all negativity is positive, because you won’t know the feeling of positivity unless you’ve been through a negative situation. Everything is a positive, because you’ve got to go through the dark to get to the light. Failure is when you give up, when you let go, when you settle into the negativity that people throw at you and you stay in that space. I don’t allow myself to get to that point.
As we’re heading into 2020, what are you taking with you into this year, and what are you leaving behind in 2019?
I can’t wait for 2020. It’s gonna be a great year. A new beginning, a whole other decade! I’m excited. I’ve got a lot coming. I don’t like to talk about it, because I’m the type of person who thinks if you talk about something too much, it won’t happen the way you want. But I’m promising to evolve as an artist, and as a human being, too. It’s not just the music. It’s everything.
If you could ask Rihanna one question, what would it be?
Rihanna, I just want to do a collab, man. I just want to do a record with you. If that’s the only question I get, that’s it. I want that Caribbean vibe!
Photography Mario Sorrenti
Styling Alastair McKimm
Hair Duffy at Streeters.
Make-up Kanako Takase at Streeters.
Nail technician Honey at Exposure NY using Tom Ford Beauty.
Colourist Lena Ott for Suite Caroline.
Lighting technician Lars Beaulieu.
Photography assistance Kotaro Kawashima, Javier Villegas and Jared Zagha.
Digital technician Johnny Vicari.
Styling assistance Madison Matusich and Milton Dixon.
Hair assistance Lukas Tralmer, Dale Delaporte and Allie J.
Make-up assistance Kuma, Tomoyo Shionome and Megumi Onishi.
Nail assistance Tera Darden.
Set design assistance Mike Williams, Akaylah Reed and Amy Sabel.
Production Katie Fash.
Production coordinator Layla Némejanski.
Production assistance Fujio Emura.
Casting director Samuel Ellis Scheinman for DMCASTING.
Casting assistance Cicek Brown for DMCASTING.
Lede image Young M.A wears vest Calvin Klein Jeans. Durag and jewellery model’s own.