After years of plotting and informal recording, YBN Almighty Jay moved from big dreams of rap stardom to a very real celebrity status. Starting out equally excited about rapping as he was about gaming and his aspirations to be a YouTube star, Almighty Jay made connections with other rappers while playing Xbox Live as a teen. Those friendships made while gaming would grow into the YBN collective, a crew of rappers Jay would collaborate with and release his solo tracks in affiliation with. He scored his first hit in late 2017 with the viral single "Chopsticks" and became more famous from there with his own singles and features on huge songs from other artists.
Texas-born rapper Jay Bradley grew up listening to his mother's gospel music before discovering rap and starting to write his own rhymes as early as age nine. As a teenager he aspired to be a YouTube personality and took the name King Almighty Jay, inspired by Chief Keef's 2013 mixtape Almighty So. Also an active gamer, he was regularly connecting with other gamers on Xbox Live, and around 2014 he befriended Nick Simmons, a fellow gamer from Birmingham, Alabama. This was the birth of the YBN crew, originally a gaming collective that morphed into something more music-related as these remote friends started freestyling to each other while playing Grand Theft Auto. For the next several years, Jay and Simmons (now going under the name YBN Nahmir) would separately write and record material, releasing tracks and mixtapes online. They didn't meet in person until 2017, shortly following the release of YBN Nahmir's breakthrough single "Rubbin Off the Paint." Jay's own career soon took off with viral single and video "Chopsticks" and a digital distribution deal with Human Re Sources, the same company behind Nahmir's ascent. A handful of tracks from YBN Almighty Jay hit commercial streaming platforms through 2018, including a "Chopsticks" remix (with Rich the Kid), "Takin Off," "Bread Winners" (with Nahmir), "2 Tone Drip," and "Off Instagram." In 2018 Jay collaborated with Rich the Kid on several tracks, and gained attention outside of his music for his relationship with celebrity model/entrepreneur Blac Chyna. While the YBN collective included around ten members, Jay was one of the core three members of the crew along with Nahmir and YBN Cordae. In fall of 2018 YBN: The Mixtape surfaced, collecting some of the best tracks from these core talents of the YBN clique. ~ Andy Kellman