Louisiana Rapper Young Bleed Owes a Lot of His Success to Houston

The rapper Young Bleed got his first major recording contract in the 1990s through Priority records in Los Angeles and later joined Strange Music.
The rapper Young Bleed got his first major recording contract in the 1990s through Priority records in Los Angeles and later joined Strange Music.
Photo by: Cross Eyed Joe Courtesy: Young Bleed
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Glenn Clifton Jr. was headed back to a newly rented apartment near Dallas, but first he had to drop off his manager a few miles away. He was headed home after a night at the Starck Club didn't go as planned.

His beanie hat was tight around his head as he drove by the police cruiser parked in a dead end. When he saw the lights in his rear view, he didn’t think the legally purchased gun in his glove compartment would be an issue. But it was. He didn't realize he left it cocked and loaded.

After a night in the Denton County Jail, Clifton couldn’t help but think of the old maxim “Come on vacation, leave on probation.” He decided to settle in Dallas for several years to stay on the good side of the law and be close to his probation appointments.

At the time, the Louisiana native, better known to the world as the rapper Young Bleed, had a gold-selling album and was signed on the seemingly unstoppable No Limit Records, run by Master P. He was recording guest verses for $5,000 to $10,000 and running with moneyed sports figures such as Emmitt Smith and other key players on the local music scene.

In fact, Houston was his intended first stop. He respected the late-1990s grind of hip-hop performers such as Scarface, Devin the Dude and DJ Mean Green. And he had seen for himself how far the Bayou City had come in terms of holding its own in the greater rap music industry.

“I lived in Louisiana all my life, until I was about 30 years old, and I got family in Houston and throughout Texas. But I’ve been coming to Houston since a baby, so I could see that evolution,” he explains.

But almost a month after the release of his smash hit album My Balls & My Word, Screwed Up Click icon Fat Pat was murdered. Houston, Young Bleed says, wasn’t the best place to be for an outsider trying to break
into the local scene at the time.

“There was a lot of stuff going on, so between the confusion and me just coming in, I just kind of backed out of that situation. I went back home for a while, let things blow over,” he says about the time. “But in the midst of that, the city was in an uproar behind Fat Pat.”

Still, he knew he had to return to Texas; it was where the bulk of his music was selling the best, especially in Dallas. His album's sound had Houston in its DNA as well.

Most of the heavy production was by Nathan “Happy” Perez, including on the hit song "How Ya Do Dat." The funky bounce of Bring The Noise was co-produced by Pimp C.

Pimp C, Young Bleed says, was one of his best friends and offered to produce hisfollow-up album, On My Own, for $10,000.

Although he reached the commercial height of his music career some 20 years ago, filming a video on a yacht with Master P and a gaggle of buxom women off the California coast, Glenn Clifton Jr. has never stopped hustling.

Because of his associations in the music industry, he got another shot at a record deal and remade his own hit song in 2011, with How You Do Dat Again. A subsidiary company of Midwest rap titan Tech9’s label Strange Music put out an album, Preserved.

“We try to mash and come together when we can to let people know we still out here working, as well as the new generation,” he says about his tour. Young Bleed also has a new album he released in February under his own imprint, Trap Door Entertainment, called Livin’.

Admittedly, the memories of his heyday are still with him. Young Bleed offers that he got seasick on that boat featured in the video for this hit song. He was all of 23. He remembers going to the side of the boat to recover and looking out at the waves, watching seals jump out of the water.  It was something he never planned on experiencing while growing up in Baton Rouge. “I appreciate that from Master P, off top. Some of that is as good as it gets right there.”

Young Bleed, Syke Pachino and more perform in Houston at a private event for the Hard Work Pays Off Tour, Saturday, April 29; see southernstislesrecords.com for more information.

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