Yung Berg sits in the driver’s seat of his Mercedes Benz eagerly sampling some of the music he’s been working on. Like most producer/songwriter hybrids, he’s never far removed from his MacBook.
There’s something different about him. He’s (no longer?) starting trouble, flashy, or boisterous, but kind of quiet –humble even.
It wasn’t a full five years ago that Berg, instead of a behind-behind-the-scenes craftsman, was in the spotlight as an artist. Granted, he’s been writing, producing, and performing music his entire career, although back then it wasn’t common knowledge. “I think when I came out initially, I don’t know, the perception was that I was just some young pretty boy light-skinned dude with green eyes that an A&R probably found and said, ‘He has a look,'” Berg tells Hip-Hop Wired. “But my journey is really different. I wrote and produced for the most part, and every single that you’ve ever heard from me they’ve featured artists that were not prevalent in the industry.
“I came in [the industry] and my focus wasn’t to tell everybody like, ‘Yo if you listen to my album I got Amerie, Trey Songz Lloyd..and I wrote every piece of R&B on that.’ Ya know? That wasn’t my goal. I was just young, running around, absorbing the moment, so to [speak].”
These days playing the sidelines, and earning the self-allotted “Hit Maker” moniker on his Twitter page take top priority. Berg’s been busy working to make others shine.”I’ve had my hands involved in a lot of different people’s projects that I don’t always get the credit for…I do want the credit, but I don’t want the credit if it’s not given to me.”
Berg, his brother K-Young, and fellow producer Rob Holladay founded the production group The Dream Team in 2009, years after earning his first credit for penning the title track off Eve’s 2002 Eve-Olution release. Since then, the 26-year-old has put together music for the likes of Future, T-Pain, Cassie, Wiz Khalfa, Pusha T, Ludacris, Meek Mill, Rick Ross, and Lil Wayne, the latter of which earned him a Grammy nod for the single “John.” Berg was behind Dricky Graham’s 2012 hit “Snap Backs and Tattoos” and is presently working on Tamar Braxton’s, forthcoming debut with three songs on the release, including the reality star/singer’s latest “The One;” a sample of Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy,” and his own vocals.
Lots more deals are in the works, including records for Mary J. Blige, and possibly Beyoncé.”It was more so with management,” he says of how he came to put together music that may go to Mrs. Carter. “People have come to me like ‘Bey is working on this, and we want some records in this vein and I’ve just been creating records. I just recently did some records that I think are really crazy!”
The Chicago native signed to DMX’s Bloodline Record label when he was 16, working his way into DTP affiliate Shawna’s crew as her hypeman in 2005, and released his debut single “Sexy Lady” in 2008. A year later Ray J’s “Sexy Can I” and his own “The Bizness” followed, all songs which he co-wrote and produced.
“I want to take myself out the equation, because of whatever stigma that I caused myself early in my career.”
At the kick-off of his solo career, Berg — born Christian Ward— let his mouthpiece get him into trouble, and that’s when the bad press rolled in. “Just being young,” he says without, addressing anything in particular. There’s lots of ground to cover. The term “dark butts,” comes to mind.
“You gotta understand what place that came from,” he explains of the controversial statement airing out his alleged disgust for dark-skinned women. “I wasn’t trying to tear down [anybody]. Me personally, I come from a place where when you live and you apologize for something, I move forward from that. I apologized for what I said.
“I was like 20 years old dealing with that situation. There was sh– that you did when you were 20 that at 26 you’re like, ‘Yo I shouldn’t have done that.’ It’s just all growth, it just leaves room for growth and to know what to say and know what not to say, and know that things that I might say jokingly can offend people, so I need to watch what I say.”