Article by Shiloh Sanchez
Hip Hop enters YungDre’s life as an apparition that appears throughout this life, sitting on the bleachers against his previous goals, but still continued to push him closer to his dreams outside of negativity. Yet it is the honesty YungDre represents in his responses to the oppressions he, De Andre Mounger, witnessed during his upbringing on Saginaw’s East Side that is vital to his statement to his listeners, hence the acronym H.o.p.E., Historically Oppressed People Everyday. These people are what De Andre saw every day. He reminisces about growing up in "crack influenced hoods, seein’ kids in poverty, no guidance, parents on drugs, in pain, in jail." One example of when YungDre represents Oppressed People is on track 12 from his latest mixtape Closer… (To My Dreams), "Baby Momma's Drama," where he describes the situation of being a single mother:
Fights and the drama, comma, lies and dishonor, job description of baby mama, who knew what I knew now, a young lady's job of raising a young child, in a world that's wild, in a world that's heartless, bein' a boy or girl they need a father regardless, bein' a parent's a partnership.
Yet, unlike the Oppressed People YungDre supports and represents, he managed to stay on a rather clear path of sports and education, not taking rapping seriously until his senior year in high school. Even so, throughout his brief focus on basketball during his elementary years, hip hop introduced itself under the name of Stacaholics, a professional rap group with two members, Blac Jack and Evil. As YungDre tells me this over coffee at the Red Eye, he proudly lifts up his sleeve, where Stacoholics is tattooed on his lower forearm. He’s been cool with these kids since second grade. De Andre first rapped publically during a fifth grade after-school program back in '93 with Cobane Boyz, though then he was just "clownin’ around, recording himself on a little recorder."
Though he was just clowning then, he first performed with Stacaholics in 2001 at a community center, with rappers such as Roy, Badness, Cell, and Big D, who all then became part of No Competition Records. Even then, Hip Hop had cut him a bit deeper and became a hobby rather than just clowning around for YungDre, but he still had a different focus—college. No Competition Records dissolved by the time YungDre returned to Saginaw after his second year of college in 2003, and then he rejoined elementary friends who called themselves Players from the Ghetto, and later dubbed the name Stacoholics from a song title.
Recently, it was DJ DC who brought YungDre to the stage in 2009, where he put together a show for him at SYS Fest with local hip hop band EST and two singers to back him up. Since then, YungDre has performed at such places as Saginaw's The Player’s Club on Dixie Highway and The Temple in Lansing. During his stay in Michigan, for he travels back and forth between Michigan and Atlanta, Georgia, he has performed at Bay City’s Prime Event Center and with DJ Snakes’s show, The Realness, at White's Bar with rapper Phe. He is promoting his latest mixtape Closer… (To My Dreams).
When I inquired about an album, I received his philosophy on the music economy. This is his sixth mixtape coming out, and he has no plans to veer from his love for mixtapes, where he has no restrictions on sales or production. His view on the music economy is now vital because the apparition of Hip Hop has become his job, where he now describes his talent as a universal language, spreading fashion, news, and even encouraging kids how to read. YungDre tha H.o.p.E. is indeed a bit closer to his dreams every day.
To hear his work, visit http://www.myspace.com/thahope