Quite frankly, there’s damn near no one making the kind of R & B music that Ye Ali is creating. With a pillowy, sultry voice that transfixes the web whenever he releases a song, Ye Ali has been on the cusp of stardom for some time now. “Ring 4X” and “Gucci Umbrella” are two of his earliest magnetic hits, showcasing soft vocals that make his Traphouse Jodeci moniker something for listeners to remember instantly. His last project Traphouse Jodeci released in August of 2016; now, he’s on the cusp of releasing its follow up, Traphouse Jodeci 2.
We spoke to Ye Ali briefly for our Shooting The Breeze series to unpack just who he is, what makes him who he is, and where he’s going. Get to know one of R & B’s most enthralling artists below.
This interview has been edited lightly for clarity.
Who is Ye Ali?
Producer, songwriter, and artist.
How did you break into the industry? It seems like it was simultaneously very fast but also slow.
I dont feel like I’ve fully broken in yet. But perspective is everything. I can’t really tell you how I’ve done anything, simply because I just do what I feel. I think most people who have watched my career could tell you better than I could. It’s an outside-looking-in type of thing.
I bet Spectacular responding to your tweet had to feel amazing.
Yeah, that was cool. He uses that Twitter for promo so I’m not sure if he really operates it. (laughs)
What would you create for Pretty Ricky?
Some R&B shit, just like people would expect. The same thing people love them for and love me for. We would just be combining the forces.
Since you’re into engineering, what do you think of the Transformers movies?
I haven’t watched it since Shia LaBeouf left the series. I’m not a fan of the Mark Wahlberg movies. Too over the top – if that’s even possible for an action movie.
What’s the Hammond, Indiana music scene like?
I’m not sure. I didn’t make music when i lived there, so I never got into the scene.
What’s been your favorite collaboration so far?
It would probably be “What To Do” with K Camp for Traphouse Jodeci.
How has the idea of TrapHouseJodeci evolved since you took on the moniker?
It was a nickname given to me by my fraternity brothers in college because I was into Chopped and Screwed R&B music – mainly Jodeci. The name just stuck and I have used it for merchandise, my publishing company, and a mixtape series.
As a producer, do you find it easier to create for yourself or other artists?
I never go into creating expecting it to be for someone else. I go into every session just making sure I like the music. That makes it easier to envision it for someone else possibly after, but usually I leave that to my team or the producer that I collaborate with.
What do you think of the current wave of R & B artists in comparison to the ones of decades before? Is there really a difference?
I honestly don’t listen to as much current music as you would expect. However, I do like some stuff. I draw a lot of my inspiration from music of the 80’s and 90’s however.
Would you classify yourself as part of the new school or old school?
I’m too young to be old school and not a teenager so I would consider myself an all encompassing artist from both schools.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2018?
THJ2. More production, songwriting, touring, and much more music.
How important is energy and chemistry between you and an artist/producer when you step into the studio to collaborate?
It is important physically if you are in the same room, but, sometimes, if you do it online you will still have chemistry, but you can also have the ability to have the chemistry at your fingertips and not in real life. Sometimes, that’s a good thing; other times it’s not.
Tell us about TraphouseJodeci 2. What’s different this time? What’s changed since the first came out?
Honestly, I can’t tell you much about the actual project. The listener has to decide that. I just make songs about life so the stories are updated.
How much do your relationships with women influence your music?
My relationships overall impact my music. Women are a big part of my life so that will always be a part of my DNA as a musician.
Just how much do you think that album sequencing and engineering matter to the final product? Do you think people underestimate this?
It’s the second most important thing next to the actual music. I don’t know if people underestimate it but I definitely do not. I love that part of the album process.
What advice would you have to artists looking to break into the industry? It’s harder than ever.
Find a way to make yourself needed in the industry as opposed to needing everyone else. Become something that people can look to for financial gain and opportunities.
Give us a good closing statement.
Traphouse Jodeci 2 on the way!