Madeintyo, short for "Made in Tokyo," only has one proper EP and a few videos to his name, but he's already managed to carve out a spot for himself between Future, Young Thug, and Migos in the crowded Atlanta hip-hop scene. His bass-heavy production is right in line with the Atlanta scene, but it seems like spending his formative years in Japan inspired Madeintyo in more than just his name. His style is more playful and breezy than we usually hear out of Atlanta.
The guy's not rapping about his money or drug use, either. He's a modest rapper—the closest he gets to talking himself up is his EP's stand-out track, "Uber Everywhere," and even then he seems like he might rather walk if prices are surging.
Madeintyo spent six years in Tokyo, moving back stateside after high school where he wound up joining an art collective started by his older brother, Royce Rizzy, called Private Club. The 23-year-old Madeintyo and Private Club have already been getting buzz from the "Uber Everywhere" video and Royce's collaborations with Jermaine Dupri, so I figured I should sit down to talk with him before he blows up any bigger.
I caught up with Madeintyo while he was in New York for a show with the rest of Private Club. We took an Uber together from Brooklyn to the venue in Manhattan and chatted about his music, his newfound fame, and why he's still living in his parents' house and driving around in Ubers everywhere.
VICE: So what's the scene like in Japan?
Madeintyo: I would go to a club over there and see five guys dressed up like Soulja Boy, with the exact shades and everything. That's how they show their dedication to their favorite artists. I'm pretty sure there are even dudes in Japan dabbing to Future. The scene out there is everything.
How were things different when you moved to Atlanta?
The vibe is different. It's so calm and peaceful and chill in Japan. Over here, you have to watch your back. In Tokyo, you can be on a plane or in the airport having an argument with my ex and everyone would mind their own business. I respect that. Japan is safe, too. It's good vibes. I'm ready to go back.
Nice. How'd you first get started doing music?
Me and my brother, Royce Rizzy, have always done everything together. We used to look up to our cousin who was rapping, and we'd go watch him record in his room and write our own stuff. He would turn the beat off and we'd still be rapping. He started setting up sessions in his room to record us. Our voices sounded super light and pip-squeak. My mom used to play it—she'd pull up in her Lexus blasting it and be like "these my babies!"
And then how'd you and Rizzy get started with Private Club?
We got Phin Tha Weirdo, who's from Houston but I met him in Japan. Rizzy met Salma Slims in Atlanta when he moved out there. She was in a girl group but started turning up and rocking with us. Then there's Noah Wood$—he's dope and gives that boom-bam, hip-hop vibe. Smokers music only. Nephlon Don is just straight up Philly street. He probably won't do many interviews because he's a straight street dude. That's the squad.
How'd you come up with "Uber Everywhere"? It seems like that's the song everyone is stuck over.
I recorded that song in my kitchen. We were piped up and it was lit. Actually, my mom was in the kitchen, too. My whole crew was there in the kitchen, doing what Private Crew does, and it just came up. "Uber Everywhere" was just a random line that I said and then ran with. I didn't really feel like it was a song until a day later when I listened to it and said, "Yo, this shit is hard. I think people are really going to mess with it."
What's it mean to be piped up?
Piped up is like turned up.
I see. What's it like having fans now?
It feels weird as fuck. I'm still trying to come up. I still stay in my parents' crib. My mom always says "you don't have fans until you can pay your rent," and I feel that way. I don't have my own crib and I'm still in an Uber because I don't have a car. I don't think any fame is going to sink in until it's my living—but I'm glad it's starting to pay off.
None of this stuff was planned. We just created it. You never know when it's going to happen that people will start to mess with your music. I'm just all off the vibes—whatever I feel like doing next is what I'm going to do.