Tri-Cities, Washington is getting put on in L.A as Yel releases her debut EP The Life I Live. This 9-track EP is the culmination of four years work for Yel. Every L she took, every breakdown and stressful situation, has made her the artist and woman she is today. Tracks like “How Many Days” and “Life Keeps Going” speak of heartbreak and loss. While bangers like “It’s That” give the lighter side of Yel’s story with a more upbeat and turnt vibe.
She may be currently living in Los Angeles but Yel wants it to be known that she reps and loves the PNW. The Life I Live is her way of helping put Washington hip hop on the map, and it’s quite the statement. Working with her brothers Nobi and Topp along the way. The Three have pioneered a new era of hip hop together while also having their own success as solo artists.
Exclusive Yel Interview
*This interview was edited for clarity*
What were some of the more daunting or unexpected challenges that you came across in the four years to get the EP out?
Man, where do I start? I think the first challenge was working with flakey ass people or people who not really about what they say. Also, there’s life and having to do the nine to five. Not having a studio, bills, relationships etc. But the main one was losing my father.
Did you have a lot of tracks to sort through when putting the EP together? And if so what was that process like choosing what stays and what goes?
Well, last year originally when I was sending Topp the files the project ended up getting corrupted on my hard drive. And what’s crazy is “It’s That” was the only song with all the stems still on it. And it was one of my favorite songs on the mixtape. So I went back to Washington and literally just started fresh. Went to Seattle to work with Nobi and Digital. Drove up to Tri-Cities got cooking with Parker and Topp and did it all from scratch. It just kinda happened organically that way over about 3-4 months. Once we got back to that point it was really about 20 tracks that I had to go through.
Explain the feeling you get creating music and videos with your brothers Nobi and Topp. Is there a different level of satisfaction compared to when you’re working solo?
Yo, it’s like honestly if I could explain it, it feels like a recharge. Every time we link up and make a song or even release a song it’s like the first time we got on a track when we were 9 or 10 years old and now we really doing the damn things.
We talked a few months back about “How Many Days” being a love story of falling out. What are two other favorite tracks of yours that depict other integral moments or circumstances from your life that you would like to highlight?
I would want to say “Moments and Therapy” for sure. I feel “moment” is really about having that moment of going back in time and talking to my child self and asking myself how I have been. The “therapy” aspect is for all those relationships and Scorpio issues that I go through every day of life. And of course “Life Keeps Going” which is about my father who taught me music and I wanted to dedicate that last song to him.
After four years of work how much of a relief/weight off your shoulders is it to get this EP out?
I feel like after a while I was in overdrive and I wasn’t even thinking about how tired I was or how long it’s been. I was just thinking about what’s next. So when the day to drop the project I was a feeling pride all day. And I’m hungry I’m ready to keep going on to what’s next.
You had asked fans what their favorite video between “Insane,” It’s That,” and “How Many Days.” What was your favorite video and why did ya’ll have to snap so hard on “It’s That.”
Ahaaaa yoo! Ok so first of all Topp is a freaking genius for making that beat. He already knew like once he made the beat. He called me saying “yo I got it.” and hit me with that verse. It was crazy but if I had to pick my favorite for me it goes by the newest release. In my mind, I’m always thinking about what I’m gonna hit people with next. So right now I would have to say “Insane.”
Tell us about the listening party you’re having October 29th.
The info I can give you right now is yes I’m having a listening party that day in Tri-Cities. It’s going to be invite-only so make sure you get your tickets. It’s free but it’s just important that you get those tickets and be safe with COVID. Because the EP is out it’s more of a celebration. I always love coming home, turning up, and celebrating with my home city. And I’m always gonna be rapping the W-A.