Fooly Faime and B. Reed are older now, but they still love to party. The rappers are back on the grind to recapture their glory days, starting with the summer release of Nation or Nothing Vol. 1, which included club bangers “A$$ Dumb” and “Cowboys.” They’ve also had a few of their songs — such as “Work Work Don’t Stop” — blow up on TikTok, getting popular off the #ShawtyWassupChallenge in particular.
Things are no different than before. Fooly Faime calls the Observer from the studio, stepping out of a loud recording room blasting music to talk about the group’s single “Shawty Quit Playin,” released on Sept. 30 via DigiU Records/MNRK Music. Produced by one of their longtime in-house producers, QSmith on the Beat, the song is a prime addition to your trap party playlist.
“I just want to overflow the market,” Faime says as he waits for B. Reed to arrive. “I feel like people’s attention spans are so short; it gets shorter by the day. If it was up to me, I’d drop an album every day. I ain’t gonna lie to you. At least an EP a day. I promise you, I could do it.”
And this kind of productivity is important especially now, with fans plagued by decreasing attention spans and a tendency to quickly declare that artists have fallen off or are no longer hot once they've slowed down on releasing music. Yung Nation isn’t so easily spooked by naysayers, but they've dropped mixtape after mixtape since 2010’s iYess. Their strategy is simple: Keep music plentiful, so fans never run out.
Yung Nation is also a part of the #MakeDallasBoogieAgain movement. Between the years 2006 and 2011, Dallas was home to an influential dancing community, and remnants of the era can be found in old YouTube clips with songs like Lil Joe’s “Watch Me Do This,” Lil Wil’s “My Dougie,” K-Tee’s “Boogie Thru the Doe” (featuring a young Fooly Faime) and Treal Lee and Prince Rick’s “Mr. Hit Dat Hoe.” Yung Nation fits into that history, as the duo sparked its own dance movement, called Nation Gang, which had teenagers uploading thousands of videos and dancing to their songs.
After Yung Nation became internet sensations a little over a decade ago, they kept their popularity afloat through their new music releases and freestyles, with some — such as their “Lifted Freestyle” over Gucci Mane’s “Freaky Gurl” — getting just as much love as the original. They move like they’re young veterans, educating people on the "boogie" era they helped bring to the mainstream.
“We want to make Dallas boogie again,” Faime says. “But honestly, we want to make the world boogie again. Dallas is the start of a fire. Once Dallas boogies again, the world boogies again.”
B. Reed agrees.
“D-Town Boogie, that’s really a worldwide thing," he says. “That’s a whole culture right there. They sent Fooly Faime something the other day from Japan showing them that they D-Town boogieing.”
He also feels Dallas doesn’t get the recognition it deserves for its influence.
"Dallas is a trend-setting city when you think about it because there's a lot of stuff that originated from this way that doesn't get acknowledged,” he says.
Before Yung Nation popped on the mainstream with “Club Rock” and “Shawty Wassup,” Faime and B. Reed were just two kids who met playing at basketball camps. They were both into music, showing a dedication to the rap and the hoop life.
“Me and [fellow rapper] Lil Twist used to live together back in seventh or eighth grade at my parents' house,” B. Reed says. “Faime would come over every day. And he and Twist would make some songs with me.”
B. Reed says Yung Nation came together after they wanted to branch out from Thugboss Nation, a crew they once were associated with. They both dropped out of school to pursue music full-time, building their fanbase by performing on college campuses and at graduation parties. Along the way, they got co-signs from people such as DJ and radio personality Hollyhood Bay Bay, who appeared in their “Club Rock” video.
“I think we are the definition of longevity ... Like I said, since ninth grade we’ve been poppin’.” – Fooly Faime
“He’s been around since we’ve been young, young boys,” Faime says. “He’s always supported us.”
Yung Nation continued to tour after signing to Dorrough's label from 2009 to 2011. They remember the experience as a time they got to work on projects with the rapper and got to bask in his success with the single “Ice Cream Paint Job,” by receiving tons of jewelry and a free condo to stay in.
Because their management worked with Young Money, they were able to get opportunities such as opening for Drake during his 2010 Away From Home Tour at Palladium Ballroom (now the South Side Ballroom). They also worked with YM artists Twist, Short Dawg and even Lil Wayne.
“Drake played a big role in our career,” Faime says. “We had the same team. So [our managers] Tori and Cortez Bryant would always link us for stuff together. So when Drake would have any shows in the South, we would open up because we had this market on lock. That opened a lot of doors for us to be us.”
Yung Nation are proof that their formula, which consists simply of being themselves, is working. While many rappers and one-hit wonders come and go in this genre, they got in by never switching it up.
“I think we are the definition of longevity,” Faime says. “Like I said, since ninth grade we’ve been poppin’.”
On Sept. 23, they participated in the first-ever DFW Rap Monopoly, a showcase of local talent with headliner BigxThaPlug. At Ear Hustlaz Studios, Yung Nation had their own table selling limited merch such as glasses, hoodies and shirts. They arrived a little bit before midnight, dapping up fans and taking photos with them.
Their set was a rollercoaster of highs and lows, warming up the crowd to an apex. The lights dimmed into a purple hue for the perfect moment during “Club Rock.” Suddenly, the audience came alive like they'd just been transported to the club, dancing and twerking to “Club Rock” and the next song, “Shawty Wassup.”
A few weeks later in October, the duo announced on social media they would be dropping their last album.
“Thank ya everybody for ya countless support! We wouldn’t be shit without y’all!” they wrote. While fans waited on the release date, Yung Nation dropped another EP as promised called The Weekenders, which has an accompanying film on the way. It’s all to build up for their Return of the Zombiez Tour, hoping to hit college campuses in Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, California and Kansas, with dates to be announced.
The party hit kings have one more run in them. And they've got plenty of songs to get everybody rocking again.