This summer, Mathaius Young sat down to watch Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins.
This fall, it helped him sign a record deal.
"I don't love that movie, but I watched it with my friend Warren... He let the credits play. The first song after the movie that came over on the credits was that song..." explains the 19-year-old producer/rapper from Indianapolis. "And I was like 'Oh.' I heard those first couple notes, you know, and I was like, 'I need to figure out what this is.'"
So Young — real name, Christian Taylor — waited out the credits to learn the name of the song –– "The River," by Noel Gourdin –– and got to work. While he can't pinpoint a reason, Young says he gravitates toward a darker palette of sounds, so he naturally sampled part of the song's slow, haunting piano.
"Went on YouTube, grabbed the song, made the beat for the song 'Go' a hour after I watched the movie, then I hit up Drayco," he says.
Drayco McCoy, Young's friend, collaborator, and fellow Indy rapper, quickly wrote and laid down a hook, then Young posted "Go" to his Soundcloud. That's where HotNewHipHop, a nationally popular hip-hop blog, discovered the track and re-posted it along with a glowing write-up.
"Go" immediately became Young's most popular song, and the attention it garnered from HNHH also paid immediate dividends.
"It went from like them posting it to them like hitting me back like, 'Yo, would you be interested in coming out to New York for a couple days...?' I was like, 'Hell yeah,'" Young says. "I've never been to New York. She had mentioned that they just started a label, and that they might be interested if I came out there."
So Young flew out to New York City and found out that yes, the website had started a record label called Nomad Music Group, and yes, they were interested in making a deal.
Almost as soon as Young stepped into the blog's in-office recording studio, he says the head of the company was there and wanted to know all about him. By the time their conversation ended, Young says he had an unsigned contract to take back to his hotel.
"I was just chillin, watchin like Cartoon Network and shit. I was looking over this contract and shit, like 'Man, do I wanna do this?'" he recalls. "And then, fuckin' called my mom and she was like 'Look, it's up to you,' you know what I'm saying? Like, 'This is your life. This is what you've always wanted to do...' I was like 'Fuck it. I'mma just sign.'"
The next day, Young went back to the office and inked the deal.
"Right after I sign, they gave me a bottle of Moet, and I got like drunk, on accident. I didn't mean to drink that much," he says, laughing.
For one of the few rappers in the city with a record deal, Young's local come-up had been "pretty slow" by comparison, but that started to change this fall as well. During Fountain Square's Chreece hip-hop festival in August, Young was one of the featured late-night performers, and he says the city's demand for his work has risen dramatically since last year.
"That's always my goal from day one: make music that was like — I just feel like my music was ahead of its time, and it's taken people time to catch up. And now, they're like 'Ohhh, ohhh yeah.'"
Now back in Indianapolis, Young is a full-time musician and owner of a pair of recording contracts: an exclusive artist and non-exclusive producer deal with Nomad Music Group, and another non-exclusive producer agreement with a production company in Los Angeles called JGramm Beats.
Young says he prefers making beats to rapping ––"There's just nothing like sitting in front of your laptop and making shit sound like how you want it to sound"–– but he's steadily improving on both fronts. His affinity for production shows, as he has developed a striking "less is more" approach without losing his willingness to experiment.
He's working on an EP that he hopes to release in December, while he has plans to drop his debut album in the summer of next year. Neither has a title yet.
"I love it," he says about being signed so far, mostly because "it gives you the opportunity to really fucking get your shit to these artists."
On this day, though, Young is discovering some of the drawbacks. Earlier in the day, the label "cleaned up" his Soundcloud page and removed several songs without telling him, including Backyard Wrestling Association, a project by Young and friend/collaborator Nagasaki Dirt that he refers to as his local breakthrough.
"I had people texting me today like, 'Man, I went to listen to BWA, and it's gone.'" he says.
"Man, there's so many kids in high school, that go to high school in the city that just love that project. So I was like, 'Damn...'"
As a hip-hop city, Indianapolis doesn't really have one representative sound, like Chicago with drill a few years ago or New York's traditional boom-bap. Young is like the city in that sense. His diverse productions rarely settle on a single toolkit, blending different regional sounds and influences like they rolled right in on I-65.
Young says that's a result of his curious ear, as well as his plan for sticking around.
"I don't wanna be here one day and be gone the next, you know, I'm making music for a reason. I wanna be here until I'm just, tired," he says. "I just want my shit to always be futuristic and weird."
Listen to Mathiaus Young at soundcloud.com/mathaiusyoung