Up-and-coming dancer and rap artist YvngSwag uses his art to take a stand against racism
This 17-year-old dance sensation is about to take over your social media timeline -- in more ways than one.
Tyshawn Johnson, otherwise known as YvngSwag, started dancing when he was 9 years old and hasn't stopped since. It's paid off. The young social media star first found fame on Vine, posting 6 second clips and remixes of his dance moves. He eventually moved on to longer form platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.
One of his biggest video hits was a remix of the country music song "Big Green Tractor," and it garnered over 5M views on YouTube. YvngSwag has managed to make a big impact in the online dance scene by doing hip-hop style dances to unconventional songs, and hopes it will help inspire others to open up their minds to unique dance combinations.
Now, YvngSwag has expanded into the music scene. He released a single, "Fall In Love" earlier this year, and plans to drop the music video soon. His plans for the future include releasing an EP and more.
If that wasn't enough, YvngSwag has also launched a clothing line, and plans to continue to expand his business in coming years to include all sorts of products and branded items.
Check out the first part of our interview with YvngSwag below!
#YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases rising talents. To see more past interviews, including more features on Yvng Swag click here.
You got your start pretty young, how did your love for music and dance really begin?
My love for dance started when I was like 9 years old. I was watching "You Got Served," "Step Up," "Stomp the Yard," and it was so cool how they were dancing, and I figured I could dance too. It's just fun, you know? You're happy while you're dancing. That pretty much took my love for dance to the next level -- I always had love for it [dance]. Then making music just came about for me recently, like 2 months ago. I just started making music, and I love that too.
Did you have a moment after you started putting your dances online and putting videos on Vine where you realized this was going to be big?
When I first started posting videos and everything, it took time. It all takes time. There were some moments where I was going to give up when I had 20,000 followers, because it just wasn't moving anywhere, or how fast I wanted it to. But then, I sat down and had some conversations with people, and realized I couldn't give up. So, I kept at it. Don't give up, just keep pushing for what you want. If you really want it. I kept doing it, and then it started to fall into place.
Did you have a first video that was kind of like your 'big break'?
My first video that went viral and gave me a stable fan base that I could work with was a gospel video. I danced to gospel, but I was doing hip-hop dancing to it. But I would say my first huge, break out video that really put me out there was "The Big Green Tractor" where I danced hip-hop to country music. Everyone likes that one.
If you could collaborate with anyone, dance or music, who would you want to collaborate with?
I would want to collaborate with Michael Jackson for dancing, if he were still alive. I would collaborate with Chris Brown for dancing too. Music-wise I would want to collaborate with Lil Uzi because of his style of music.
What was the process like to create your single "Fall in Love"?
I put on a beat -- it was late, around 1AM -- and I put on a beat and free-styled it. There was a melody that came through and I realized it could be a song. Then, I put a snippet out on Instagram, and my followers told me to drop the track, and I decided to come out with a full song.
Honestly, I just put on a beat and rapped it. For the lyrics, as a teenager I've been trying to look for love, but love is not working for teenagers in this generation. Love just hasn't worked out for me. There have been a lot of girls though, who like the way I dance, and I added that idea to the first idea to create the lyrics for the song.
And you have plans to do more music in the future?
Yes, I have an EP coming out.
Do you think it'll be in the same style as your single?
Yeah, same style. It's music you can listen to in the car, and just vibe out to, and be happy. It'll make you smile and feel released.
You've also been using your music and dancing to try to take a stand against racism -- where did that idea originate from, to use your dance for that?
Ending racism is the campaign I started once I started to branch out and dance to different genres of music. When hip-hop music comes on, people only think they can do hip-hop dances, and they also think that hip-hop dancing should only be for that kind of music. Like, at homecoming if a country song came on people would sit down because they feel like they can't dance to it. But I feel like you can dance to anything. Music is music. It just brings happiness and joy, just have fun while you're doing it. I just dance to country music and I started the End Racism project because you don't have to stereotype this particular dancing for a certain genre of music. You can do hip-hop dancing to rock music, latin music, country music as well.
RELATED: The new viral internet 'challenge' is here, and it's brutal