When he’s not busy roaming the streets of Victoria searching for the next victim of his ongoing YouTube comedy videos, Yousuf Yousuf is in the studio doing what he does best — rapping.
With the Valentine’s Day release of his latest mixtape, House of Hipster, the Victoria rapper known as YYou presents a body of work that ranges in influence from Jay-Z and Kanye West all the way to Coldplay and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
“The mixtape is … weird,” says Yousuf. “It’s got a lot of songs people wouldn’t expect to hear a rapper on at all — I prefer to rap on tracks that are in the realm of the fringe.”
A natural entertainer, Yousuf has already made a name for himself online thanks to his YouTube videos, which have amassed more than 800,000 views in total. Despite his success producing videos that make people laugh, his music is certainly no joke, even if he kept things relatively casual during the recording process.
“The mixtape was a lot of work,” says Yousuf. “But I really realized that my writing as an artist improved when I cared less. I wrote some of my best flows by literally not giving a fuck and just having fun with it.”
While his flow brings to mind a slew of different rappers including Drake, Travie McCoy and even Shyne, Yousuf wants his listeners to hear the range in his voice and hopes to show them he’s not a one-dimensional artist who can be easily labelled.
“They will never know what the next song I jump on will sound like,” says Yousuf. “I want [listeners] to know that I’m very versatile and not afraid to rap on different music.”
The mixtape is an independent release and includes an eclectic blend of hip-hop tracks that operate outside of the standard rap formula that promotes drugs, guns and, shall we say, loose women.
“I think my favourite [track] to record was ‘Floating Scorpions’ because it was a track I don’t think people would expect from a hip-hop artist, ever,” says Yousuf. “‘Hentai’ is a track that anyone can relate to — it really helped me release my thoughts on past relationships with different women.”
In addition to the mixtape, Yousuf is headed to Los Angeles in late March to participate in the second season of Internet Icon, a major YouTube talent competition, where his two-minute comedy video submission of an Arab prince attempting to seduce college girls was selected along with 19 other entries and will be judged by a panel of famous YouTubers including Ryan Higa, Jenna Marbles and Timothy DeLaGhetto.
But despite all his new-found YouTube fame, Yousuf is focused on taking his music to the next level, and that means getting it out to the people who care to listen.
“I want to take this music and spread it to the world. My goal is to become a well-rounded entertainer, and I think I’m slowly laying down the footwork step by step.”
House of Hipster is available for free download exclusively at hotnewhiphop.com. Yousuf’s YouTube channel is Yyoulives.