Lyrical dexterity is a rarity in hip-hop, reserved for only the sharpest and brightest to ever pick up a microphone. It’s a skillset that few possess, and one that rapper Bleeze YF knew he had from the moment he learned how to rhyme. His story is complicated, with twists and turns that he plans to unveil layer by layer, as the rap phenomenon is prepared to share his story on the road to stardom with his next EP Second & 15.
Growing up in Englewood, New Jersey, Bleeze was inspired by watching his older brother record his own freestyles. “I was in like the sixth grade when I tried it,” Bleeze explains. “I started first recording punchlines and then they became full songs.” Inspired by Jay-Z, Bleeze focused on lyrics with multiple meanings and double entendre, like his favorite rapper. Coming up in the MySpace era as a kid, Bleeze found himself uploading songs to the platform. By high school, he found his own crew, though he began taking his love of football very seriously. “I would play football for five days straight and then dedicate the next two days to making music,” he remembers. “I enjoyed that.”
When he reached college, football stayed at the forefront. “Football took me to college, but it actually really took my music time away from me,” he adds. “But the gift that came out of that was that I became the kid on the football team who could rap.” A video of Bleeze freestyling in his locker room during a game went viral. In it, he’s shouting out his teammates, while detailing how they’ll annihilate the competition. While he was speaking about football, the sport of rap bled through his rhymes. Once he graduated and an injury thwarted his plans for the NFL, Bleeze brought that passion right back to his first love: hip-hop.
“I started applying everything that I learned in football to making music,” Bleeze expresses. “The discipline, the consistency, the competition.” He took to Soundcloud, dropping songs every Wednesday as part of a series and was met with significant traction. “It was a great way for me to put pressure on myself to keep it going,” he continues. He moved over to open mics and artist showcases, and by 2021, he released his long awaited EP First & 10. The project was full of promise, anchored by cuts like “No You Not” and the project’s lead single “My Type.” Bleeze’s versatility was evident, to the point where the world began taking notice. As his label All Fam Entertainment grew, so did Bleeze’s notoriety. He’s now geared for the release of his follow-up EP Second & 15.
The football metaphor continues, as Bleeze challenges himself to level up. “If you follow my reference, that kind of means I took a few steps back,” he explains. “I lost some yards. So that's more so based on a personal goal. We all hold ourselves to a certain standard; and if I didn't meet the standard that I plan to reach, I’ve gotta hold myself accountable.” The track “Real Or Not” is the centerpiece of the project, where Bleeze questions the intentions of the people around him as he elevates. “It was my favorite song to record,” he admits.
Whether he’s spitting flawless bars, jumping on New Jersey Drill tracks, or making radio-ready hits, Bleeze is a chameleon on the mic and ready to show the world what he’s got. “This is a long time coming for me,” he advises. “And I want everyone to understand the depths of my versatility.”