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Key Glock Embarks on a Future Without His Mentor: ‘Young Dolph Was My Motivation’

November 17, 2021 changed Key Glock’s life forever.

The devastating loss of his mentor and cousin, Young Dolph, who was shot and killed that day at Makeda’s Cookies in his hometown of Memphis, left a permanent hole in Key Glock’s heart. Four months later, he is slowly resuming his music career and figuring out how to shoulder the burden of carrying the Paper Route Empire legacy.

“Ain’t gonna lie, Young Dolph was my motivation,” Key Glock candidly tells Billboard over the phone. “That was my mental hype man. Even when myself didn’t see the s–t, he seen it and put it in me. This s–t just taking a toll on me. The thrill and the passion for this s–t [is gone]. He watched me get to this point and is no longer [here].”

Key Glock first returned to the studio in January, where he poured every ounce of his soul into a song he described as a letter to the late Paper Route Empire CEO, “Proud.” When asked about the numbing studio session, he prefers not to revisit the abyss he pulled from that night.

I can’t even go back and pinpoint that dark place,” the 24-year-old admits. “I just try to stay away from that. It’s hard. That was a letter to him. I didn’t do that for the fans, media, or nobody. I did that for me.”

Meanwhile, Key Glock continues to focus on his own career, unleashing a pair of singles in March — “Play For Keeps” and “Pain Killers” — both of which will land on his Yellow Tape 2 deluxe edition on Friday (Mar. 25). The new edition should give a second wind to a project that peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 and topped the Independent Albums chart.

Before he heads out on his nationwide tour, kicking off in Atlanta on Apr. 4, Key Glock caught up with Billboard about his hopes to make a splash in Hollywood, why Kanye West’s relationship with his mother reminded him of his own, and more.

Was it tough for you to re-engage with the music after stepping away for these last few months after Young Dolph’s murder?

Key Glock: Yeah, for me, I’m just big on timing. Not even just music — s–t, life, period. From when I wake up, timing is big with me. I just felt like it was time for me. I’m not ready to put anything too new or fresh out [because of] like I said with my situation. My foot’s already on their neck, and with this deluxe, I gotta squish their neck and put more pressure on them. I had to let them know this ain’t over and it’s just the beginning.

What made this the right time to get back into the game and drop the deluxe edition of Yellow Tape 2?

I’ve never done a deluxe for any tape I’ve ever done. I just felt like it needed to be re-continued, because I didn’t get what I wanted to out of it because of the situation I had going on. Now, I just gotta spin the block again. Re-welcome it to everybody.

Were these songs on the deluxe ones that didn’t make the original cut, or were they recorded this year?

These [were] songs that I personally felt were best for the tape and fitting the surrounding songs. You got a song on there that I recorded last month, and a song on there that I recorded two or three years ago. You wouldn’t even know [the difference]. 

“Proud” is such a powerful record. If you can, take me back to your emotions making that ode to Young Dolph and what you’ll remember about it.

Really, bro, I can’t. The feelings are unexplainable. It’s like, I remember it, but I don’t. It just was me getting stuff off my chest and how I felt about him, the situation, and the world. I still feel that and I’m never going to stop feeling like that. 

How do you plan to keep the legacy of Paper Route Empire on your back moving forward in the future? Is that a burden?

We good, my boy. We all one. We got Snoop, Woo, King, Jay, Big Moochie Grape and Glock. We all got a piece of Dolph in all of us. We all going to make it happen and do what we got to do. 

Was there anything specific that you take from him that you’re going to make sure that happens?

For sure. Not just me, but we all know what he wanted for everybody and it was nothing but the best, so that’s what we gotta do, give our best. 

I saw you talking about how the Kanye West jeen-yuhs documentary made you understand him a lot better. What did you take from the doc that may have influenced you?

I see myself in Kanye. I wasn’t speaking on his behalf. He’s grown, I’m not gonna comment on how another man behaves. So what I was saying, his manifestation, and faith in himself and the power of his tongue, I just see myself in Ye. Couldn’t nobody stop him from where he wanted to go. Couldn’t nobody tell him no. He always figured out a way around situations. 

He’s his mother’s only son. Just the relationship he had with his mother, Donda, I actually see that with me and my mother, because I’m the only child. She’s my best friend, and that was his best friend for sure. Anybody that knows me, knows that me and my mother’s bond is just the same, if not better.

Ye documentary would make u understand him so much more..

— GLIZOCK🌹 (@KeyGLOCK) March 12, 2022

Talk to me about how you want to get into acting in the future. You said you wanted to go to acting school and music doesn’t “hit the same” for you as well.

To be honest with you, I really don’t even need acting school. I got this s–t natural to me. This s–t is like rapping to me — it’s easy. Somebody just gotta give me a chance to do it. 

We need you to go into 50 Cent’s Power empire.  He’s had a bunch of rappers in the show.

Man, I’d kill that s–t. I’d steal the show.

Lil Meech didn’t even take acting classes before 50 Cent chose him to play his father in BMF. Have you done any acting in the past?

I directed my last couple of videos on my own. As far as acting, my “Look at They Face” video was all me. The day before shooting the video, I was looking at Eddie Murphy movies and I seen how he’s one person, but plays different characters. It gave me an idea to do that with a music video. If I’m not mistaken, I haven’t seen a video with the artist playing multiple characters.

Does music not feel the same to you creating now compared to years ago?

It’s the media, internet, and the blogs. Not even just that though, to be completely honest with you. This is taking a toll on me, bro. This s–t’s still early right now. I got no answer for it.

finna go to acting school.. doing music don’t hit da same for me anymore 😒

— GLIZOCK🌹 (@KeyGLOCK) March 3, 2022