In Depth: A conversation with Yadiiiigg
I sat down for a virtual interview with friend and YouTuber Dylan, better known on the internet as Yadiiiigg.
Gabby: Tell me a bit about Yadiiigg, when did you create your online profile, and what prompted you to start making videos?
Dylan: In terms of building an online profile I would say it was around mid-2015 when I discovered this hip hop forum ‘KanyeToThe’. That's when I found other people who were into hip hop and liked the same artists I did and that kind of gave me a platform to converse with people and share my opinions. I’ve always been a huge internet kid so when I got into hip hop I got super invested into it as a passion; I would read as much as I could, watch every interview I could and I learned as much as possible. It got to a point where I felt like maybe I had a nuanced enough opinion to share it beyond just a forum and that people would care about what I have to say, that’s when I thought about starting a YouTube.
At the same time I also consumed a lot of journalism from other areas outside of just music and I took note of how they broke down and analysed situations. That inspired the YouTube direction the most because I felt like well, I could learn from my favourite journalists in these fields and do similar work for my passion in hip hop. I already had all this information as a reference base, so around late 2016 I just decided to make my first video and since then I guess I just haven’t stopped haha.
Gabby: So what kind of content do you cover now?
Dylan: I would loosely describe my content as video essays or something like that; It’s pretty simple content where I just give my opinion.
Gabby: You have a community of over 61k people through your YouTube, what do you think is the most important part of building such a strong community?
Dylan: So it's two things. Firstly I think the personality I express in my content is really who I am and it isn't some contrived persona. It helps people connect with my content because they can tell it’s genuine. At the end of the day I've really been following Carti, Uzi, Yachty etc since 2014/5, I'm not some bandwagoner and I really am as much of a fan of their music as my channel would suggest. And it’s funny that’s probably the most jarring feedback I get to my channel, often I get comments like “you're such a Playboi Carti fan like what the fuck dude, like have a fair opinion”. But at the same time, it's like, yeah, I’m just a huge fan and my content reflects just how much of a fan I am I guess haha.
And the second biggest thing is just being consistent with the content and with the output to be able to establish an audience.
Gabby: I feel like it's so genuine your interest, even when we're just hanging out, you can just like talk for fucking hours about Carti or some crazy as hip hop thing.
Ok so, not many people may know, but you operate from the western suburbs of Melbourne. What's it like operating here? What do you think makes it different?
Dylan: I think there are a few levels to that. First of all, when I first got into hip hop, you’d remember this, hip hop was never the cool thing in Australia. It only became a cool thing and super popular recently. So when I got into hip hop during the early days of high school there weren’t many other kids I know of who listened to the same music I did. So I guess I always felt isolated musically and felt like I didn't have people to share my music taste with. This directly led me onto the internet to find these online outlets and other people to discuss my opinion with which eventually led to me making my YouTube.
So that's one level.
Um, what's it like operating inside of the western suburbs? Kinda boring haha. I would say specifically where I'm from, there's just no culture unless you're like an 80-year-old or something like that. There's a slowness and a real tranquil vibe to the west which is cool but it's an aging population and as a result, there is literally no youth culture scene for people like us who have passions like we do to get involved in. So in order to satisfy my cultural interests whether that be music, fashion, or art-related, I guess I just looked online rather than to my immediate environment.
Gabby: Yeah, it's like the classic like middle-class suburbia. You live further out west like me. I feel like there's a huge difference between Altona and Footscray, as soon as you get past Newport the culture really changes. People come out here to have kids, raise families, and then get old.
Dylan: Yeah exactly Like Footscray has a cultural scene, even Newport has a bit of an indie scene now but in terms of where we’re from it’s kinda dead.
Another thing and you’d probably relate to this; being from the west we’re not born into wealth, we're not rich kids from loaded families who live in amazing areas where our parents have connections that guarantee us a job no matter what as soon as we graduate. Don’t get me wrong, our families aren’t poor and I'm not comparing my struggle to those who are but from the west, you don’t always have access to the opportunities that people from other areas have. So to be successful you have to build up a huge hustle mentality to work hard to make those relationships and opportunities happen for yourself because they aren’t handed to you. And I think that hustle mentality is what built up my YouTube because you really have to sit there for hours on hours and just grind out videos to get to the point you want to be at.
Gabby: I guess this ties in a little bit but the majority of your fan base is located in the US what's it like having this community interacting with you from across the globe?
Dylan: Yeah it was a bit of a strange thing at first but as I do generally cover US hip hop it didn’t really come as too much of a surprise. When you take it outside of that lens though a lot of these people have never heard an Australian accent before. So there’s an initial reaction that you get to where it's like, what the fuck? Who the fuck is this guy? Why does he have an Australian accent? Why is he trying to talk to me about hip hop? Which is kinda funny and I get tons of comments about it.
But, honestly, it's really fucking cool. At the end of the day, I can just simply speak and reach thousands of people from around the world. And for them to share my interests, respect what I say and then have a back and forth dialogue; It's amazing. I try not to take it for granted because it's something that is truly a blessing especially to be four years deep into it at this point.
Gabby: Nice, all right. The next one I'm asking everyone, but who are some of your favourite local AUS artists at the moment?
Dylan: I'd probably say Daine, Webby, Convenience Store, aayu, 4CHERUB, Tag Shai, 3K, and Elapidae. I really like what they’re all doing. In terms of smaller Australian artists, those are who I can say I put into rotation and go out of my way to listen to. Of course on a bigger scale the whole One Four drill movement I really like and It’s really cool to see Kid Laroi making moves also.
Gabby: Yeah, all mad artists. So, what’s next for Yadiiigg?
Dylan: Honestly, just keep doing what I'm doing. Keep grinding, keep putting out videos. One thing people may not know is that YouTube is still just a passion project for me; I study full time, work part-time, and am in the middle of an internship with VICE so it can be difficult to juggle everything and keep consistent. I really have no desire to ever turn YouTube into my main job or do something “yadiiiigg” related professionally, but for the time being, I love doing it as a hobby so the plan for right now is to just keep making content.