Washington, D.C. rapper/singer Beau Young Prince uses his background in classical and jazz to bring a fresh slant to the genre, representing a whole new scene of local hip-hop talent.
Beau Young and his three sisters were raised by their mother in D.C.'s southeast quarter. He attended a prestigious private school in the north of the city, and his mother called him "Prince Young." He showed an aptitude for the performing arts and appeared in school plays. He began writing and performing poetry, progressed to battle rap, then began recording after he was introduced to the studio by a friend. He also studied double bass in both classical and jazz styles. In high school, he sold discs of his work, adopting the Beau Young Prince or "BYP" moniker. The money he made — about $1000 — convinced him there was a career to be had in rap. He began performing seriously while at college in North Carolina. His first big gig was opening for Wale, then he went on tour, acting as his own booking agent. In 2016 he recorded the album Until Then in collaboration with YalaMusiq, and the EP Patience, as half of the duo Young Futura with DJ YNMO. Critics and heads alike were impressed by his versatility as he blended his multiple musical influences — such as jazz, electronica, R&B, and D.C.'s own go-go music — with a literary bent. His 2017 solo debut EP, Sunset Blvd., created even more buzz, leading to his signing with Def Jam. The singles "Kill Moe" and "Price" arrived in 2018, followed by the EP Groovy Land, which he described as his "origin story." The singles "Move the Chains" and "In Real Life" followed in 2019 and 2020, respectively. ~ John Buchanan