DC rapper City of Sleep recently made a major power move by hooking up with heavyweight hip-hop label MDE/Brick Squad Monopoly.
Sleep (aka Young Sleep) has been a mainstay on the local scene for several years. He has put in work both as an artist and promoter. Sleep (with Troy @TopShelfDMV) used to host the popular Keys 2 Tha City showcase every week at the Island Café.
Sleep is now focused on his career as a solo artist. He has been featured on numerous Brick Squad tracks this year, and has stayed busy on tour and in the studio.
Sleep and I have been talking about doing an interview for a few months, and we finally got together earlier this week and made it happen.
ST: I'm over here on 36th Street & Minnesota Avenue with Brick Squad Monopoly rapper City of Sleep, also known as Young Sleep. What name are you actually going by now?
CS: City of Sleep, 36th & Minnesota Sleep, Brick Squad Sleep, whatever you want to call it - just know what it is. It's Blackout, Brick Squad, Man Down. Monopoly is the company and the whole Minnesota Ave is who we're doing it for.
ST: You've come a long way Sleep. You were on your own at a very young age, you got shot, you've been locked up.
CS: I have come a long way. When I was young I was hard-headed and I couldn't get along with my mom. So I went out and had to learn to make it on my own. I had to find my own way like a lot of other young dudes that come up in our city. It wasn't easy. When the streets are raising you, you always learn the hard way because the streets don't have any rules. But I survived, and now it's my turn to win.
ST: I remember at one time you were doing it real heavy hosting at the Island Café. Your event was known for having the best "street" rappers.
CS: I put my work in, and now it's time for other people to put their work in. Like you said, I did the Island Café, the Red Lounge, Liv, Ras Lounge, Lotus. I opened for a lot of national acts. We got exposure for a lot of local rappers that came to our shows. We got them in magazines and we got them on TV. I definitely support the movement and I still believe in doing for my city. My Keys 2 Tha City family is going to get back on the scene, but right now I'm on a different level.
ST: I know you worked closely with Big Weaze before he passed.
CS: Yeah, Big Weaze filmed a lot of our events for his weekly show (Metro Video & Film). We actually had made plans for a big project right before he died. RIP to the big homie.
ST: Talk a little bit about Brick Squad Monopoly (BSM). How did that whole thing come together?
CS: It was basically real street dudes coming together and uniting. They didn't have any artists from the DMV except for DJ Junior (@DJJunior1017), so we chopped it up and came to an agreement. They found a spot for me and I showed them what I could do. Now they (BSM) got me good and it's time for me to let the whole world know about 36th and Minnesota.
CS: Frenchie and Bird opened the doors for me. Bird (@Birdman718_Zoe) is the big homie behind the scenes. The whole BSM family has showed me love. Don Vee, Yung Joey (@YungJoeyF1), the whole Man Down Entertainment (MDE). Frenchie put out Power Moves with Waka. He has the Long Overdue mixtape. He just dropped the new single "Don't Know Em". BSM and MDE stay winning, they stay shining.
ST: I heard you had Waka Flocka around 36th a few weeks ago.
CS: Yeah, Waka came to DC to do a show. Waka loves coming to DC and we were just chilling in the streets - no security, no police. Waka pulled up in his Rolls Royce Phantom and he showed everyone love. I had him up 37th, 36th, Greenway, 34th, Trinidad, Congress Park, Ivy City. We rode through the hoods talking to people and taking pictures, just turned up. We need more of that. We need more artists who aren't afraid to come to the hood. There are a lot of rappers from DC that are scared to come to this side of town.
ST: You always promote and represent for 36th & Minnesota.
CS: I'm still losing homies out here in the street. My soldiers getting locked up, getting killed. You saw what just happened about five minutes ago Sid [a nearby verbal dispute resulted in threats of gunplay]. Where we are standing is the worst part of the city right now. All the other neighborhoods are getting cleaned up - we are the forgotten part of the city. You see how it is in the projects. I'm trying to save a few lives out here. The way BSM has done before. They give real street dudes an opportunity.
ST: Let's talk about the DMWV for a minute. I remember I saw you at the show in Hagerstown earlier in the year.
CS: I did the show in Hagerstown and I also performed in Martinsburg (WV). Those dudes are definitely grinding out there in the DMWV. Shout out to my man Big K. I have a few homies out there. They're about to turn their game up and they're always putting in work.
ST: What's the timetable for your next project or mixtape?
CS: Hopefully, before the year is out. "Flexin" is the next single. City of Sleep is the name of the mixtape. I'll also be on a couple of songs with rappers you know (that's all I can say right now), so look out for that real soon. This Brick Squad Monopoly, Man Down, Blackout movement is unstoppable.
ST: I appreciate your time with the interview. Do you have any last comments or shout-outs?
CS: Shout out to my homies Shae, Rob, Ant, Smurf, Goon Squad, Bob-B, Kenny Blackout, 37th Stevie, and the whole 36th & Blackout. Shout out to Nate Bussey; he's from our hood and he got drafted by the New Orleans Saints (currently playing in the CFL). And Ahmad Fields - he's another dude from around our way who's playing basketball for the University of Utah. He should be in the NBA pretty soon. Shout out my folks up 37th, they got some hitters up there. RIP my homie Lil Dre from 37th, RIP Kake, RIP Lil Amp, RIP Kizzy. Shout out to my whole Minnesota Ave Crew - we're going to make it happen this year. Follow me on twitter to stay up on my new music and show schedule: @SleepBSMMDE.