Louisiana rapper YoungBoy Never Broke Again debuted as one of 2016's rising talents when that trajectory hit some turbulence brought about by a six-month prison sentence.
Originally known as NBA YoungBoy, the rapper was born Kentrell DeSean Gaulden in Baton Rouge in 1999. Inspired by local artist Lil Phat
, the young Gaulden started rapping and recording. His debut mixtape, Life Before Fame, arrived in 2015 and was quickly followed by a trilogy of releases titled Mind of a Menace. Shining a spotlight on his gritty and violent upbringing, YoungBoy displayed a talent for wordy bars, combining the spirits of contemporaries like 21 Savage
and Boosie Badazz
. In 2016, he released the 38 Baby mixtape, which featured fellow Baton Rouge rappers like Badazz
and Kevin Gates
. Before I Go Reloaded, a collection of previously released tracks, was issued at the end of the year, as the future of his burgeoning career remained uncertain. In 2017, after he was released from prison, he issued AI YoungBoy, which featured the single "Untouchable." The effort debuted in the Top 25 of the Billboard 200. Months later, YoungBoy issued Fed Baby's, a collaborative mixtape with Moneybagg Yo
. He quickly followed Fed Baby's with Ain't Too Long, a short mixtape that debuted as a streaming video playlist before landing on the Billboard 200. ~ Neil Z. Yeung, Rovi