Kentrell DeSean Gaulden (born October 20, 1999), known professionally as YoungBoy Never Broke Again (also known as NBA YoungBoy or simply YoungBoy), is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. Between 2015 and 2017, Gaulden released eight independent mixtapes, and steadily garnered a cult following through his work. In late 2017, Gaulden was signed to Atlantic Records, who distributed two additional mixtapes. In January 2018, Gaulden released the single "Outside Today", which peaked at number 31 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song was the lead single for his debut studio album Until Death Call My Name (2018) which peaked at number 7 on the US Billboard 200. His follow up singles included "Valuable Pain", "Slime Belief", and "Genie".
Gaulden's first chart-topping project was AI YoungBoy 2 (2019), which debuted and peaked at number one on the Billboard 200. It included the singles "Self Control", "Slime Mentality" and "Make No Sense". Gaulden also collaborated with the late rapper Juice Wrld on "Bandit", which became his first top-ten single. In April 2020, he released his sixteenth mixtape 38 Baby 2, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. Later that year, Gaulden released his second studio album Top (2020) which became his third chart topping album in less than one year.
Kentrell Gaulden was born on October 20, 1999, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Gaulden broke his neck while wrestling as a toddler, the injury requiring a head brace until the spine healed. The brace left permanent scars on his forehead. Gaulden was raised mainly by his maternal grandmother due to his father being sentenced to 55 years in prison. He dropped out of ninth grade and told his mom he wanted to focus on his music career and was soon arrested for robbery and sent to a detention center in Tallulah, Louisiana. While there, he began writing lyrics for his debut project.
After he was released from the detention center, Gaulden's grandmother died of heart failure and Gaulden moved in with his friend and fellow Baton Rouge rapper, NBA 3Three (also known as OG 3Three). The two then used acts of criminality to begin to pay for studio time.
2014–2017: Beginnings and A.I. YoungBoy
Gaulden first began producing music with a microphone he bought from Walmart when he was fourteen years old. He released his first mixtape, Life Before Fame in 2015. A string of other mixtapes followed including Mind of a Menace, Mind of a Menace 2, and Before I Go. Gaulden attracted attention with his October 2016 mixtape, 38 Baby which featured fellow Baton Rouge natives, Boosie Badazz, Kevin Gates, and fellow rappers Stroke Tha Don and NBA 3Three. A week later, Gaulden released another mixtape titled Mind of a Menace 3 on November 4, 2016. Gaulden quick rise to popularity could also be attributed to his "song-for-song rap beef" with fellow Baton Rouge rapper Scotty Cain in December 2015, in which songs from both rappers included death threats. Although no real violence ever occurred between the two Baton Rouge rappers, their feuding attracted a lot of attention.
In December 2016, Gaulden was arrested in Austin, Texas on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder in connection with an alleged drive-by shooting. While in jail in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, Gaulden released two mixtapes Before I Go: Reloaded and Mind of a Menace 3: Reloaded including "Win or Lose", "Don't Matter", and "Too Much". Gaulden was released from prison in May 2017 after taking a plea deal and posting bail. A week after leaving prison, Gaulden released the single, "Untouchable".
In July 2017, Gaulden released a video for his song, "41", that included cameos from notable artists including, Meek Mill, Young Thug, 21 Savage, Boosie Badazz, and Yo Gotti. On August 3, 2017, he released his mixtape, A.I. YoungBoy which charted at 24 on the Billboard 200. The single, "Untouchable", peaked at number 95 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The second single from the project, "No Smoke", peaked at number 61 on the Billboard Hot 100. Also in August 2017, Gaulden announced the A.I. YoungBoy tour.
2018–2019: Until Death Call My Name and A.I YoungBoy 2
YoungBoy performing in early 2019
Gaulden announced his debut studio album, Until Death Call My Name in January 2018, shortly after signing a joint venture deal with Atlantic Records. The album was released on April 27, 2018. He released the single "Outside Today" on January 6, 2018. The song became Gaulden's highest charting song, peaking at number 31 on the Billboard Hot 100. Despite being arrested in February 2018, Gaulden promised a new mixtape. Gaulden was released from prison on March 15, and his next mixtape Master The Day Of Judgement was released on May 19, 2018. Throughout the summer of 2018, Gaulden released a series of four EPs, each containing four tracks. The first of which, 4Respect, was released on August 24, followed by 4Freedom, 4Loyalty and 4WhatImportant on August 30, September 6 and September 14, respectively. In conjunction with the final part being released, all four EPs were combined into a 16-track compilation titled 4Respect 4Freedom 4Loyalty 4WhatImportant. Gaulden's 12th mixtape Decided, was released on September 7, 2018, with a sole guest appearance from Trippie Redd and peaked at number 9 on the Billboard 200. On December 20, Gaulden released another mixtape, Realer, featuring guest appearances from Lil Baby and Plies.
By January 2019, Gaulden was on YouTube's Top Music Artists list in the United States for the previous 101 weeks, which made him the most-watched musician across all genres. This was mainly due in part to his consistency of releasing music regularly and exclusively on YouTube. He was also the 9th best selling artist on the 2019 Billboard Mid-Year Charts and was seventh in the top ten artists ranked by on-demand audio streams without dropping a project in the first six months of 2019.
From September 2019, Gaulden has been serving a 14-month-long house arrest sentence, following a probation violation earlier this year. Therefore, he's unable to record music from anywhere besides his house. On September 25, 2019, Gaulden released the "aptly titled" single "House Arrest Tingz".
On October 4, 2019, YoungBoy released the song "Bandit", with rapper Juice Wrld, released as the final new song by Juice Wrld as a lead artist before his death. The song reached number 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming NBA Youngboy's highest charting single.
On October 10, 2019, Gaulden released his mixtape AI YoungBoy 2, marking his first full length project since 2018's Realer. The mixtape is a sequel to his 2017 breakout AI Youngboy and features 18 songs, including the previously released song "Slime Mentality". Gaulden was able to get his first number one album on the Billboard 200 because the album had accumulated 144.7 million on-demand audio streams during its first week, becoming one of the top ten biggest streaming debuts of 2019.
2020: 38 Baby 2 and Top
In February 2020, YoungBoy released his mixtape, Still Flexin, Still Steppin. It debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, becoming his second-highest charting album after his 2019 number-one album AI YoungBoy 2. On April 24, 2020, NBA YoungBoy released the mixtape 38 Baby 2, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200. Throughout 2020, NBA YoungBoy has released and featured on various collaborations, including Migos' "Need It", Future's Trillionaire, and the Lil Baby-assisted "One Shot", from the mixtape Road to Fast 9 from the film, Fast 9. On August 20, 2020, YoungBoy announced the release of a new album titled Top, which was released on September 11. It includes the Hot 100 charting singles "All In" and "Kacey Talk". The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and became his third number-one album in under one year.