Yoo Ali — Memphis Rapper Yoo Ali on the rise after working with Drake & Tay Keith

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Fredrick Cunningham, famously known as Yoo Ali, is a professional musical artist and songwriter from Memphis, TN. He rose to fame in 2018 when he shot and directed the music video to Bloc Boy JB’s break out single “Look Alive” featuring Drake.

What makes you different as a person and as an artist?

As a person I’ve always been with the lead to inspire aspect personality. I never took something I couldn’t do as the answer. I’ve always worked to get to what I wanted. I always pay attention to signs, like it can be a sign for God and you never know if you never pay attention to whats going on. Good or Bad. I remember when I worked at McDonald’s and an old white guy came through the drive-thru and told me that I was perfect for this job. I told him thanks then when he pulled off I sat and thought about that all day. The next week I put in my notice to leave. I don’t know whether he meant that as a compliment to my customer service or in an insulting way but I took it as it’s time for me to get out of here. Since then, I used that mentality to get me where I am in life and in music. As an artist, I approached the game from a strategic standpoint. All I knew is I didn’t want to be in my 30's still trying to rap and make it in the industry, so I came up with a plan to make it in and due to God, Hard work, and consistency it worked. I approched the game from a different formula and I believe that’s what makes me different.

What do you want to accomplish in life?

I want to be honest. As a kid growing up it was alot of things I wanted to do and accomplish, and I did them one by one. I remember playing sports in highschool and always wanted to make it to the finals. I never cared too much about being number 1. I just want to be recognized as one of the top members. That was good enough for me, and I accomplished that. I remember when I used to imagine being able to work with big artists like Drake and years later, I’m in his face working with him traveling the world seeing things I never could even imagine seeing being from Memphis, but its still so much left I have to do. I want to direct movies, be at least a 1 hit wonder or number #1 album on billboards, anything to solitify me in the music industry even more. After that, I may retire early, just keep investing in real estate and stocks, sit back and do me. I want to teach my daughter how to produce, direct or something. Who knows what the future hold.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

5 years from now, I honestly want to retire early, I hate to say it. Some people say that in your 30s you just now get to live and do things, but to me I got to travel the world early. I got to do the tours, turn up with all the females, blow money, All that good stuff. Im 25 now so in 5 years thats the big 30. I should have some millions saved up with equity, that way I can spend more of my time showing my little one how to accomplish or do whatever it is she want to do and inspire her. Im a huge family man, so I hate being away from her too long so. If I can be a millionaire stay at home dad thats what I’m going to do, but if the stay at home part get too boring then I’ve always had thoughts of going into the cannabis industry, buying some, starting a grower business, and investing in a dispensary maybe.

What do you bring to the music world?

There’s a lot of different styles and genres of Hip-Hop, from sound to moods to meanings. I like to give my fans an inspiring hert felt vibe. I like to talk about my problems when I’m feeling down and when I’m back on my feet to make them get up and grind. I guess you can say I make Grind music. I’m bipolar though so my moods change a lot. I’ll even want to be on pure Memphis music since this my roots. Me and Tay Keith have a single getting ready to drop where I’m just straight turnt and flowing. My sound is just so versatile that it’s hard to pin-point me to a category right now. I came from being a rapper to Director back to rapper so for sure I believe that anything is possible. Never let anyone tell you that you’re limited to anything. You just have to stick around to learn my full story.

What legacy do you want to leave behind?

I want my legacy to be remembered as you remember that breakout year where everone was just on my music, like that “Ali cant miss” season. I want people to go back and listen to my music like they’ll go back and listen to an old Drake or Tupac album. It’s old but it still feel so relevant to that time period. I want my legacy to stand strong even beyond my music. Yoo Ali will forever be around through that. That way when I retire and go be me, I can tell my kids I did everything I’ve always wanted to do. That’s what it’s about at end of the day. Live my life and leave some behind for the next generation so they can pursue their dreams to us my ultimate goal.

Connect with Yoo Ali:


Chris Collins is an American multimedia journalist from Los Angelas, California

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