Florida rapper Yungeen Ace moved from one struggle to the next as his difficult childhood led into a tumultuous young life in music. One of 12 brothers, he had a surprisingly isolated upbringing and turned to music and street life in his teenage years. He began releasing his solo tracks online in March of 2018, and after only a few months of his pained, tumultuous songs building a buzz, he was involved in a drive-by shooting that took the lives of his brother and two friends. He released his debut mixtape, Life of Betrayal, in the wake of this tragedy.
Born Keyanta Bullard in 1998, Yungeen Ace spent his early years in Chicago but relocated with his family to Florida in early childhood. Living in Jacksonville, Bullard experienced daily struggles with abject poverty and a desperate environment, surrounded by danger and street crime as he entered his teenage years. He began writing and recording solo tracks, releasing his debut single, “No Witness,” in March of 2018. Several other singles would follow, but these bright beginnings were darkened in June of that year when Yungeen Ace and several friends were attacked in a drive-by shooting in Jacksonville when leaving dinner. He survived multiple gunshot wounds but would be the only person to make it out of the altercation alive in a group that included his brother Trevon Bullard, and friends Royale Smith, Jr. and Jercoby Groover.
Immediately following the shooting, legal troubles put the rapper under house arrest, and his debut mixtape, Life of Betrayal, arrived in August, with Life I’m Livin’ arriving later that year. The first collection included newer songs inspired by his tragic losses; the standout track, “Wanted,” featured a cameo from YoungBoy Never Broke Again; and earlier singles like the JayDaYoungan collaboration “Jungle.” He teamed up with Boosie Badazz, Lil Durk, and others in 2019 for the 16-track Step Harder. ~ Fred Thomas