20-year-old Huntington Beach native Yung Pinch sits placidly on a couch in a dimly lit room full of blue lights behind a pair of John Lennon shades under wild, wavy, young Ozzy Osbourne-esque locks. It’s unclear whether his cool can be credited to a kickback, coastal upbringing or to the calm brought on by the self-assuredness offered by success.
Certainly, part of the cool comes from the soft-spoken voice found across his breakout 714Ever mixtape and the major features he’s landed since including his collaboration with one of EDM’s biggest personalities in Dillon Francis.
Pinch’s disposition began catching eyes and ears nearly two years ago. Soon after dropping 4Ever, he got his first million views on YouTube, followed by a sold out show at the Constellation Room, and found some radio play thanks to OC vet DJ Carisma. He recalls the cluster of events that bloomed Orange County’s newest star nonchalantly.
At the time though, Pinch, born Blake Sandoval, was sleeping in a studio north of the Mid-City house we’re sitting in trying to make it all happen. He sings the line “I’m off Cahuenga in NoHo” from his track “All Ready” mid-convo, as if to corroborate the authenticity of his story. It might be the coolest way to do so.
Pinch seems hardly concerned with living in the past, which might be due in large part to the year that lie ahead for him. The first quarter of 2018 will see him drop the third installment of his 4Everheartbroke EP and stop in on his home venue, The Observatory, twice — one of those times as the headlining act playing to a show that sold out more than month before it happened.
“It’s been a long time coming up,” he says. “I used to open at the Observatory for other artists selling pre-sale tickets for other artists.”
His other stop at the venue, joining G-Eazy on stage during a night of his “Beautiful and Damned Tour,” was a preview of what European fans can expect when Pinch joins the Northern California rapper on dates overseas this summer.
“Beach boy going to see the world!” he perks up to say. “What blows my mind is that people already know about me out there. On a smaller scale, but it’s like they know about me, so that’s crazy to me, too.”
He mentions that the Dillon Francis collab “Hello There” did lead to a significant global spike in metrics.
Pinch stares down yet another milestone this year with his 21st birthday approaching in April. He slightly geeks at the chance to spend it in Vegas, though he appears just as content spending it in HB with his family and friends.
Home has grown ever more important for the 714Ever creator in the time since taking off into the spotlight. LA’s soulless tendencies forced him to reevaluate his surroundings.
“That shit’ll eat you alive,” he says of the LA music industry. “I experienced it myself. I had to tap back in with the roots,” adds Pinch.
His “Beach Boy” DNA sustains and propels him in the current state of affairs that have placed high value on rappers on who can interpolate the feelings and melodies of Alt-Rock’s superstars from the early aughts. Luckily, growing up in Surf City, USA put him ahead of the wave of rappers just now getting around to the KROQ-supported sounds that permeated nearly all of Southern California.
“I’ve been doing it for a while now — even on 4Everheartbroke 2 and my old stuff where I be flipping, like, Blink 182, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Weezer. You could hear all that. I’ve always said I get inspiration from Pop Punk and Rock and different shit like that.”
But Pinch is looking ahead, conscious that whatever the future holds will inevitably make its way into his music. He accepts the certain change that could alter his style with the same cool it appears he’s rocked long before the sold out shows, high-profile collabs, and designer slides.
“Time goes by. Life goes by. More experiences,” he lists off. “Somethings stay the same. You always love things but things change. It’s just rocking with the changes. I’m always still myself, you know what I mean?”
Yung Pinch returns to OC Saturday, April 28 for The Smoker’s Club Fest in Long Beach. Stream his 4Everheartbroke 3 EP now on all platforms.
I listen to music. I write about it. I like hot sauce on my chicken.