SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — In a cover story with Billboard, Louisiana native rapper YoungBoy Never Broke Again is now a Utah resident, and he said he’s ready to be baptized into the Latter-Day Saints Church.
The move comes as YoungBoy, a.k.a. NBA YoungBoy but born Kentrell DeSean Gaulden, 23, seems to be reconsidering his life after a string of legal troubles and arrests dating back to 2014.
The prolific and highly successful rapper — Billboard reports that only Taylor Swift and Drake had more streams in 2022 despite having basically zero radio airplay — is currently living in Salt Lake City under house arrest. YoungBoy was allegedly involved in a shooting in Miami in 2019 that has him tied to an ankle monitor. He’s also previously faced arrest and charges for attempted murder, drugs, guns, assault, and kidnapping.
Billboard’s Meaghan Garvey reports that while under house arrest, YoungBoy, a Motown artist, is only allowed three pre-approved visitors at a time. And among those visitors have been LDS missionaries.
“It was just cool to see someone with a different mindset that had nothing to do with business or money — just these wonderful souls,” he said to Billboard.
YoungBoy originally came to Salt Lake City as a youth, according to Billboard, as part of a youth outreach group. Part of his relocation came in a courtroom deal in 2021, in which his lawyers argued that moving to Utah would keep YoungBoy out of trouble. It wasn’t an easy sell, but the judge eventually agreed.
At first, YoungBoy said he turned LDS missionaries away from his door. But he later relented, telling Billboard. “I needed a friend. And it hit me.”
YoungBoy said he’s saving his baptism into the church until after his ankle monitor is removed. A father of 10 children, he did not say whether or not he’d be baptizing his children into the faith.
Billboard said YoungBoy’s music is “commonly understood as brooding, ruthless and retaliatory,” and the rapper said that music comes from real-life traumas that many might read as nightmarish. A ninth-grade drop-out whose father was sentenced to 55 years in prison, YoungBoy was sent to a youth group home in Tallulah, La., where he reports being regularly beaten by other residents. U.S. Marshals once arrested him right before a 2016 concert in Austin, Tx., for opening fire on a group of people on the street in Baton Rouge, La. Florida officials once arrested him right before a concert for assault, weapons violations, and kidnapping charges. The list goes on.
“I’m at a point now in my life where I just know hurting people is not the way, and I feel very manipulated, even at this moment,” he told Billboard. “I was set on being the greatest at what I did and what I spoke about. Man, I was flooded with millions of dollars from the time I was 16 all the way to this point, and I woke up one morning like, ‘Damn. They got me. They made me do their dirty work.’”
The rapper expressed his regret over putting out violent lyrics, noting that he isn’t “rushing back to that,” noting he has a family to take care of.
You can read the entire Billboard story online.