If you missed a FaceTime call from Drake at 1:00 a.m., what would you do?
That was the question Yung Bleu faced the morning after he sent Drake his tormented Love Scars: The Five Stages of Emotion track "You're Mines Still"—a viral confession about being the most toxic post-relationship guy in the world—earlier this month. The 26-year-old rapper from Mobile, Alabama was understandably upset the next morning, but he did what anyone would do: he reached back out and hoped for the best.
"I really thought it was over," Bleu says over a choppy Zoom call as he drives through the woods. "Drake is a real genuine dude. He really doesn't care how big you are. If he fuck with it, he fucks with it." Fortunately for Bleu, he eventually got in touch and Drake recorded vocals for a remix of "You're Mines Still," which was released Friday morning.
Since the 2013 release of his Hello World mixtape, which featured a buzzing single called "Go Head" produced by Drumma Boy, Yung Bleu has been steadily climbing the charts as both a rapper and a singer. He signed to Boosie's Badazz Music Syndicate record label in 2017 and came up with a breakout single, "Miss It," soon after. Since then, he’s released a slew of projects and has worked with high-profile artists like Lil Durk, YFN Lucci, Wiz Khalifa, and Kevin Gates. Now, his fanbase is bigger than ever; underground news platform Say Cheese recently claimed that Yung Bleu is approaching having a billion streams across all streaming platforms.
Yung Bleu released his Love Scars: The Five Stages of Emotion project earlier this month and didn’t realize that Drake would be hopping on one of its tracks just a few weeks later. On October 9, fans noted that Drake followed Yung Bleu on Instagram and soon after, Bleu posted a screenshot of their conversation, excited that Drake wanted him to send over vocals for a remix of "You're Mine Still." As Yung Bleu explains to Complex, there's a larger story at play as to how that exchange came about—one that involves a certain NBA star from Yung Bleu’s hometown facilitating that conversation.
We caught up with Yung Bleu for an interview about "You're Mines Still," Drake, wanting to sing more than rap, and more. The conversation, lightly edited for clarity, is below.
Where were you when you found out that Drake hit you on Instagram?
I think I was at home. He wrote to me in the DM. So, what originally happened is that DeMarcus Cousins reached out to him. Cousins reached out to me saying that he was loving the EP and he was saying, "Man, I can hear Drake on this one. I can see Drake on this one. I love this one." And I was like, "Yeah, that would be real hard." But I wasn't thinking anything about it. I'm just like, "Oh, that's like some shit that ain't but a wish." So it wasn't a real thought in my head, you know what I'm saying?
Three days later though, Cousins had sent me a screenshot of Drake saying, "Send the record." So I had sent them the record and after a little while, I thought that he probably didn’t like it or hear it for real, so I just forgot about it. Then he wrote me on Instagram with the message that I posted and said “Let’s do the remake.” I said, “Hell yeah.” And I just sent his team the song.
How long did it take for Drake to send over the verse?
Oh, that's the crazy thing. It only took a couple of hours. Everybody on my team was thinking that if he did do it, it was going to take at least like three or four months to get it. He sent it back the same day.
That's fire. He really must have liked the song to get it over so fast.
Yeah, he just went with it. It was crazy because after he had hit me up, I went to sleep that night and he FaceTimed me at one in the morning, and I missed it. I was so mad. I really thought it was over. I ended up texting him the next day and talking about it. But he was mad cool. Drake is a real genuine dude. He really doesn't care how big you are. If he fucks with it, he fucks with it. He’s a real musical person, like the genius kind.
Have you guys talked since getting the verse?
Yeah. We've been talking a lot lately. Today has probably been the first day since I got the verse that we haven't chopped it up.
I've seen the plaques that you’ve earned for your songs. You’re already successful, but what do you think his co-sign will do for your career?
I mean, to be honest, I really don't even think I'm on a level like that. Musically, yes, but not in my career. I don't think I’m as big as the other artists that he has collaborated with. That’s why us working together really took me for a loop. In the underground I'm big, but I haven’t really hit that peak yet. So it's a blessing for me. I feel like it's going to take me to where I think that I need to be, for real.
I can imagine that other high-caliber artists have been hitting you up for features after seeing the news about the Drake collab.
I ain't going to lie, man. My DMs have been so crazy that I haven’t even had a chance to go through all of them. But I do have big follow-up work after this though. After this song, there’s another with a big artist. But I'm keeping that in the pocket right now. I’ve been politicking with it. Talking with bigger artists, you know what I'm saying? It just hasn’t been artists of that caliber, you know. He’s one of the biggest that you can find.
With a collaboration of this magnitude on an R&B song, it must affirm for you that this style is the way to go. Do you think that? Or do you still want to alternate between R&B and rap?
It is pushing me to make more songs like this, because that's what I really want to do anyway. It feels like every time I drop this type of music, I'm going either gold or platinum. I'm getting people like Drake to collaborate with me. It would be stupid not to. This is where I’m getting the most blessings, from doing this type of music. I really love to do it, for sure.
I saw that you've been making music since 2013. You've been persistent. What's kept you going for so long over the years?
Just the love of music. I love creating it and being in the studio, feeling the vibe, and everything that comes with it. That just keeps my drive and me going.
When did you realize that you could sing in addition to rap?
I used to just toy around with it, really. Probably around my first Investments project, I was just playing around with it and people started to like it, so I ended up running with it.
What inspired the creation of the Bleu Vandross series?
That was something that the fans made up. They said it when I was putting out mixtapes, so they just started calling me Bleu Vandross. I liked the concept and ran with it.
If you had to pick between the Bleu Vandross series and the Investments series, which one do you like to make more and why?
That's a hard one. It probably would be the Bleu Vandross series because I'm enjoying making R&B music a little bit more right now. Even though I know I can do both, I'm enjoying doing R&B more right now. So if it was right now, it would be the Bleu Vandross series, but back sometime, it'll probably be the Investment series.
What was the inspiration for your latest Blue Vandross-inspired project, Love Scars: The Five Stages of Emotion?
I felt like I owed my fans more music because I took so long to drop Bleu Vandross 3. I wanted to make this album a concept album, because I had never done one before. So I was just like, “It's going to have a whole flap to it. It's going to be like a movie.” It also came from what I was going through.
Is making this type of emotional music therapeutic for you?
Yeah, it is. I feel like it is also me trying to help out people who are going through the same type of situation. Sometimes I speak for me and then sometimes I speak for what I see and hear about—what I know other people are going through. I try to make therapeutic music for other people, too.
Do you remember what was going through your head when you made "You're Mines Still"?
I just heard the beat and it caught me and didn’t leave me. I felt like I could rise up on the vocals so I wanted to show my range and versatility.
Have you ever been that toxic guy that you described in the song?
Yeah. I've been him, for sure.