BenzoFre$h, formerly known as “Yung A”, is a hip-hop/rap artist, based in St. Louis. Born as Aubrey Tyrell Watkins, this young talent commands a huge fan-following already. His works are very expressive and creative. A one-man powerhouse, he is already a label founder, producer, songwriter, rapper and actor. His enthusiasm is strong, genuine and infectious, just like his performances.
Interview by Stephen Thompson, Ph.D.
Welcome to OpenBeast. Tell us about yourself.
Well I started writing music at age nine, and since then music has been a major factor in my life. Like two or three years ago is when I really started taking my music career very serious, and started hitting the studio to record music, come up with business plans, design my own graphics, and book my own shows basically I was my own manager and still is, but since then I put all my focus into my music after I graduated from High School. No, I didn’t think about college, joining the army or nothing. I just felt becoming a rapper was my true destiny and I am too dedicated to quit.
How and why did you get into music?
In elementary school I use to act in a lot of school plays and write raps for my part, but I got more into music after I put out my first song which was called “Do It Big”. That’s when everybody I knew was falling in love with it and the people wanted more. That was when I found out music is God’s plan for me and ever since that happened to me I’ve been focused on nothing but this.
So what is the reason for changing your name?
Well, mainly the reason I changed my name from “Yung A” to “BenzoFre$h” was because if you look into the industry it’s a lot of Young’s. I felt I should be more creative and original and didn’t wanted be considered to be a typical rapper for real. I wanted to stand out from the rest of the crowd; I wanted my name to mean more to me than just a name. Now that is changed I feel more like a brand instead of just a rapper.
What is your best gig thus far?
The best gig I have done so far is opening up for Legendary group “Do Or Die”. I enjoy meeting legends in the game because they paved the way for a lot of us and we can learn a lot about this industry from them because they have been doing this longer than I’ve been alive. I like to know as much as possible about something before I just jump into it.
Talk to us about your team.
My team is dedicated to this just as much as I am. I mean we all have the same goals and that is to be successful in life especially in this music industry. We do everything in our power to get heard and seen from spending long hours promoting and networking online to hitting the streets. Some work and some don’t. Some in college and some not, but we all put effort into this.
What is your “Change the World Youth Program” all about?
Well, it’s mainly about helping the youth follow their dreams and teaching them the true meaning of having faith and we want everybody to believe that they can do whatever it is they wanna do. No matter where you from, what color your skin is, or what’s the highest grade you completed. We want to let everyone know that ANYBODY can make it in life as long as you put your mind to it, “You can do it”.
Any upcoming projects and plans you would like to discuss?
As of now, I am working on my new mixtape which will separate me from the others. Like I said in this industry it’s all about standing out. You have to have something different and also have to be ahead of the pack. I can’t say too much but let’s just say the world will soon know who BenzoFre$h is (smiles). I take more time thinking about my plans and strategies more than I think about writing a new song, because anybody can rap. It’s more about the business than it is the music and I want everyone to know that.
What are your leisure time activities?
I like to play basketball, surf the web and do what every typical teen likes to do and that’s have fun. Although I do have kids. So my focus is mainly on becoming successful and being a good role model to them.