Yung Zay, (aka Tha Oregoonian) is a Portland based hip-hop artist who offers fire raps mixed with hard punch lines and a smooth transitional flow. I personally work with this artist closely in the studio, and have been able to see his development and motivational changes that drive his need to be successful. I spoke with Yung Zay for this week’s #EpicArtistSpotlight.
What’s up Zay, thanks for taking time to talk with me about your music. How long have you been rapping?
No problem. I’ve been rapping since I was 7 years old. Well that’s when I wrote my first song. But I’ve been putting music out and taking music seriously for almost 3 years now.
What was memorable about your first written song?
My first song I ever wrote was called Rydah. It was about me trying to portray my uncle and the things I saw him and the rest of the big homies doing. My first song I ever recorded though was Superstar back in 2011 I believe. It was me and Chief (Deontre) back before STRAY was in play.
Nice, I worked with Chief this past summer. If I’m not mistaken, you guy are teammates with STRAY correct?
Yeah we are. I was blessed to be a part of STRAYMusicGroup starting May 2014.
Tell me more about what STRAY represents, and who else is in it?
STRAY is an acronym for Success That’s Reached As Youth. It’s really just a team of young ambitious men who I’ve grown up with. Deontre Curry (aka Chief) and Donte Thomas are the co-founders. They also make music. Chief just released “The Camp Out EP” and Don is working on something nice but I can’t give much detail. We also have this dude named Chris Lee on our team, that man has single handedly taken over the University of Oregon campus with his mixtape Under The Influence. Last but not least there’s Jacorey who goes by the stage name G-6ix. He’s got some music that will have you think twice about what real hip-hop music is.
Seems like a great movement doing great things. Also seems like the fan base is pretty large. What about your stage name, “Tha Oregoonian,” what’s the story on how you got that?
Yeah we try to push STRAY as strong and as much as we can. The name “Oregoonian” was made up while I was incarcerated at Hillcrest Youth Correctional Facility by myself and my two homies; James Lebo and Tomas Salinas. It was going to be my music group, but I was the only one doing music at the time so I incorporated Oregoonian into my stage name which was “Rozay” at the time. When I got out I found out that I could no longer be “Rozay” so I changed my stage name to “YungZay ThaOregoonian.” The name Oregoonian is just a goon version of the word Oregonian, meaning from Oregon.
It’s catchy, I like it. What is your upcoming project? What have you been working on?
My main project I’m working on is Tha Oregoonian Mixtape. That’s my main focus to get that out by summer time. But lately I’ve been dropping singles, I just dropped my Trap Master Freestyle about 2 weeks ago.
Anyone from the town that you would like to get on your project? Anyone you would like to shout out?
I would like to do a song with someone from the YEADAT Crew, only because my uncle is the originator or YeaDat and I want to be a part of that movement as well. Mac Pearl & Jay Wy would be great additions to my mixtape, not only because they are Portland raised, but because their music an grind is just nothing I’ve seen from other local artists. I want to shout out my STRAY family for giving me the opportunity to be part of such a great camp. My boy Bryce for producing all my songs an turning nothing into a work of art. My family for supporting my every move and holding me down for those 15 months I was away. My girl Chrischelle for being my backbone through this WHOLE process of coming back from jail to making music. Also, anybody who supports me, STRAY, ThaOregoonian movement and all local rappers. Without you guys we wouldn’t have a reason to continue our craft. And the man upstairs for blessing me with this musical talent.
Sounds like you are on the right track and have a huge support team to grind and eat together with. I’m glad to be a part in your journey and man, thanks for taking the time to talk with me. Keep up the push, and for anyone who is a fan of The Oregoonian, he has an upcoming show this Sunday February 22nd.