Catching Up with Huntington Beach’s Own Yung Pinch Ahead of Rolling Loud This Weekend!
While most artists may be proud of where they come from, Yung Pinch wears his boastfully on his sleeve. Hailing from Huntington Beach and fittingly deeming himself the “beach boy,” the “Rock With Us” rapper proves why he’s a star in the making. Taking from both rock and rap influences growing up, the 21-year-old blends both genres while adding his own wavy vibes, both literally and figuratively.
With the release of his debut mixtape titled 714Ever two years back, he garnered a very loyal fanbase and created major buzz in the industry. Organically hitting the radio airwaves soon after, real name Blake Sandoval is a testament to anybody chasing a dream, doing anything and everything it takes to get there. From the merch to his cinematic visuals, typically set on the beach where he belongs, everything remains on brand with his carefree waves.
While he stays locked in the studio perfecting his craft, Pinch subconsciously convinces the masses he’s just an average kid, having fun and enjoying life — while providing tunes for you to do the same. From touring around the world with G-Eazy, to now headlining his own Lost At Sea Tour, Yung Pinch plans to hold nothing back for his performance at Rolling Loud to close out 2018.
Being from Huntington Beach, how does that play into your life and career?
Huntington made me who I am. All the other different types of music I listen to besides rap is because of Huntington Beach and my family. I wouldn’t be who I am today if I didn’t grow up in Huntington Beach.
On “Rock With Us,” you say “beach boy really walk like this.” What does a beach boy look like?
“I really walk like this, who you know talk like this?” I really walk it how I talk it. A beach boy, there’s no look. You don’t have to look like nobody to be a beach boy. You either just gotta be from the beach, love the beach, or be at the beach all the time. What does an artist look like? Or what does a rapper look like? You can’t really confine somebody like that.
Talk about blending the realms of rap and rock, and creating your own chill, laid-back lane.
That was always something I wanted to do: Incorporate other styles besides just rap. As a kid, I just rapped because that’s what everyone else was doing. It wasn’t cool to be singing, so I decided to just try it. From there, that’s when all the years of listening to all the different music that my family was listening to — like Sublime, Blink 182, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Weezer — those influences started to come in. I probably wouldn’t be listening to certain types of music if it wasn’t for Huntington and the people I was around.
You were raised in your grandparents’ house, and started listening to hip-hop in 8th grade, right?
Nah, I started listening to rap when I was a lot younger. The only time I was listening to rap, though, was when my friends played it, because my family never listened to it. 8th grade is when I started freestyling and fucking around, rapping.
At what point did you realize this music thing was for real?
Probably after I graduated high school. I dropped out of college to take music seriously. I started doing a lot of shows and a lot of opportunities started popping up. Then I sold out the small room at The Observatory and DJ Carisma played my record on the radio. I was like, “Oh damn, this shit is for real.”
Do you live in L.A. now or are you still in Huntington?
I still have a spot with my grandma in Huntington. I pay rent now, but I just moved up to L.A. to be closer to everything. I’m still in Huntington a lot, though.
Did you feel like you had to move to L.A. for your career?
Yeah, it was good for a few reasons. One, so that I don’t have to drive in traffic every single day, back and forth. Two, I felt like I had to take myself out my comfort zone and separate myself from everybody I used to be around all the time. I just started focusing on myself even more.
How important is it to come to L.A. as an up-and-coming artist?
There’s a bunch of opportunity in L.A. A good chunk of the music industry is in L.A., so obviously, you’ve gotta go and be around all of those people. Network and make opportunities for yourself. If you’re not out here gettin’ it, then I don’t know what you’re going to do. L.A. is just one place you can go, but it seems to be the most popular.
You released your project 714Ever in 2016. Talk about always putting on for your city.
Absolutely. I mean, it’s a part of me. I give credit to my city for helping make me who I am today, so it’s only right that I put on for my people and where I’m from. It’s not like anyone else has been able to do it either, that’s why I take it so seriously. It’s two years later and we still screaming ‘714Ever,’ every stage we get onto.
Are there any other artists who have come out of there?
Phora from Orange County. But as far as Huntington Beach, I’m the first beach boy.
How has your sound evolved since?
It’s crazy! Just non-stop working. Trying a bunch of new things. Working with a bunch more people: different producers, different engineers, different studios. Just perfecting my craft.
What is it you want fans to get from your story?
I want them to understand that you can do whatever you put your mind to. Even though you have a lot of problems in life, you can get out of it and still be happy. I just want to inspire people with my story and who I am, to be themselves and do whatever they want.
“When I Was Yung” is at almost 13 million views. Did you foresee it blowing up like this?
No, absolutely not. I always thought “Rock With Us” was going to be bigger than “When I Was Yung,” but I guess you never really know.
Talk about shooting the visual on the beach. I feel like that’s a very good representation of your life in Huntington.
We had to make that video just like “Rock With Us,” an epitome of Huntington Beach. To do it on the beach was obvious because we had a beach house that we were staying at, so it was right there. The rest of the video was just a party, on some real regular shit. I mean, aside from the drug cake. [laughs] The drug cake ain’t very normal.
You say “might just let you hit the blunt, might just need to hit it once.” Talk about that Cali weed.
It’s that gas, like for real! I’m not lying or exaggerating when I say you only gotta hit it once. Because I’ve been with too many people that hit it more than one time, and just lost their sauce. [chuckles] Falling asleep or just can’t handle it. It’s just a fair warning out there for everyone before they come rock with me.
I personally used to love going to dispensaries in O.C. compared to L.A.
Oh yeah, they care about weed way more. Orange County really took the weed thing super serious, as far as clinics, growing and whatnot. In my opinion, Orange County for sure had better weed and clinics than L.A.
How has music been a form of therapy for you?
It’s always been a form of therapy, just getting stuff off my chest that I don’t normally talk about. Even if I’m sad, mad or happy, whatever it is, I always got a smile on my face. The music is where I get to express and let go of all the other stuff that I don’t show.
Talk about linking with Cole Bennett on “Underdogs.”
After he hit me up for “Look Like,” which went crazy, it was only right that we had to do another video. Me and him are overdue right now, we need to shoot another one. “Underdogs” was kind of obvious, I was like, “I gotta have Cole shoot this.” We had to follow up on the next one. He wasn’t so busy as he is now, so we knocked that shit out in a day or two.
Did he reach out to you initially?
Yeah, he reached out to me for “Look Like.” He’s a cool dude. After the first time we hung out, he was the homie. It was like a friend relationship. Then I hit him up to do “Underdogs.” This time, I flew him out and all that.
Do you still feel like the underdog?
Absolutely, I feel like I’ll always be the underdog.
What’s it going to take for you not to feel like the underdog?
I don’t know, I have to be on top. [laughs] I’m the type of person that could be on top, but still feel like the underdog because of everything I went through to get here. Just to where I’m at now, let alone where I’m going to get to.
Talk about putting on for the West Coast.
I feel like it’s in every West Coast artist’s blood to put on and stand for the West Coast. I rock with damn near all the West Coast artists, for the fact that they’re from the West Coast. I want to see all of them doing well. It’s like a family type thing, we all come from the same place pretty much. The same side of the map. It’s a super strong West Coast culture. It cultivated me to be the way I am as well as a lot of other West Coast artists. That’s another reason why it’s so important for all of us to put back on for the West Coast and always represent.
You also linked with YG on “Big Checks.”
YG’s always been the big bro, honestly. His mom used to stay in the same apartment as me, but my boy Mizzle linked us. We hung out a bunch of times. Randomly, I was out in Atlanta and YG was staying there at the same time, working on his project. We just got in the studio in Atlanta twice, just kicking it. The second time we got in the studio, he was like, “What’s up, you got anything for me?” And that’s when I played “Big Checks.” He was like, “Aw that shit’s crazy.” He hopped on and did it right there.
Talk about being a rapper and gaining fame. Are people treating you differently at all?
Yeah, it’s crazy. When I made “714Ever,” I was just some regular broke-ass kid at my grandma’s house. Now all this shit is happening for me, and people aren’t really used to that. They’re not comfortable with it, so obviously they treat me differently. It comes from all different angles. Some of it’s good different, some of it’s bad different, then some of it’s just different. It’s changed damn near everyone around me: some for better, some for worst.
Are your day ones still with you?
My day ones are still rocking with me. My day ones are always going. I’m always going to show love to my day ones, and keep them with me as long as they don’t do nothing to fade that trust.
What does your family think?
My family is hella proud of me. I am the most successful person in my family now. They have to be proud of me, but they genuinely are proud of me too. It’s just crazy to see it go from one year: “Oh, what are you doing? You should be going to school and getting a job,” to the next year: “OMG, I always knew you were going to do something special.” It’s just funny.
What is your take on the music industry?
I mean, there’s a lot of great people. A lot of super helpful and talented people, and then there’s a lot of assholes, a lot of snakes. A lot of people that have absolutely no idea what they’re doing, but act like they do. It’s a very crazy place. You just gotta take the best of it and take everything with a grain of salt.
What are some goals for yourself as an artist at this point in your career?
I want to put some plaques on the wall. I want to drop another amazing album next year. I want to just keep going and making people happy. Inspiring people and changing the lives around me. I want to travel the world, like the whole world.
How important is social media for your career?
Social media is just social media. I’m on there anyways, because everyone is addicted to it. As far as for my career, it’s super important. My management and people always stress me about how important social media is, have me posting stuff all the time and whatnot. Sometimes, I think it’s a little too serious, but I get it. I understand.
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
I don’t ever have a normal day, honestly. Nothing about my life is too normal. [chuckles] It’s always different. I’m just always trying to have a good time. I’m always smoking weed. I’m always busy doing something whether it’s the studio, an interview, running errands like getting clothes or some shit. Right now on the road, I’m doing shows. In the bus 25/8 driving places, another city, another show. Trying to get food, trying to shower, trying to sleep, smoking throughout all of it. It’s just crazy. Nothing normal about a day in my life, I can say that.
3 things you need in the studio?
Weed, something to drink and some positive vibes. Some people with good energy.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
I would probably be running a clothing brand, selling clothes. I did clothes when I was in high school. I had a passion for it, but kind of put it on the backburner because of music. You’ve got to give your all into something if you wanna do your best and go somewhere with it.
What is the best encounter you have had with a fan?
Too many. It’s crazy how many of my fans have my music and my projects tattooed on them. Every time someone comes up to me with a 714Ever or 4EVER Heartbroke tattoo, or the wave tattoo I like to use, that is just so crazy to me. Or 4ever Yung. It’s just so crazy that my music touched your heart that much that you would want to put that on your body. That’s legendary for me. That’s the bands I look up to, you see people with tattoos of bands that I like. For it to be my fans, that’s fucking crazy.
Then obviously, it’s always super crazy when people be crying, like they can’t believe that you’re really right there. You’re just like, “I’m here, stop crying.” [chuckles] What are you supposed to do when someone starts crying from happiness? Like “it’s going to be okay, everything’s okay.”
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Probably Lil Baby.
“Harder Than Ever” is my shit.
That and “Drip Harder,” I like that one too.
Greatest memory thus far on the Lost At Sea Tour?
Damn. Every night, new memories. It’s been one of the funnest tours so far. The best memory? Sheesh. Probably at the Mall of America (in Minnesota). I was tripping for my first time. We were riding go-karts and my boy who I brought on tour with me, Tyla Yahweh — it was like drifting go-karts — he was coming down a straightaway and drifted at this U-turn corner. I hit my tour manager and spun out, and Yahweh just came flying into me. He crashed in to my kart, his kart went up on top of my kart and pushed me up against the wall and shit. I almost died. We went from that, riding go-karts and almost dying, straight to the Wolverines game. Sitting on wood floor, watching the game, tripping.
Trippin’ like acid?
Yeah, tripppppin’. I had never tripped before. I was like, “I’m 24, I can make a grown decision to do something I want.” It was super lit.
Favorite song to perform in a set?
“Castaway” right now. Or “20 Years Later.”
What can we expect from your performance at Rolling Loud?
An absolute movie. It’s going to be chaos. It’s going to be rage.