Charles Brown: Erie hip-hop artist Yae Culture sets sights on music dominance

Hip-hop/R&B/soul artist Joshua Smith, whose stage name is Yae Culture, has aspirations to become one of the biggest artists his family has ever seen. Taking strides in protecting his music and profusely putting out videos, the soulful Erieite will stop at nothing to create a future for himself and his loved ones. With four older brothers playing an influence in his craft, Yae, 28, feels a need to be a prime example of what happens when you go after what you love to do.

1. You've found a passion for wanting to rap growing up. What pushed you to be an ambitious songwriter?

When I first heard 50 Cent, I knew I wanted to do what he was doing. Then Dem Franchize Boyz' "In My White Tee" song came out and I would freestyle every time the song came on the radio. That's when my four older brothers said that I might be a rapper.

2. What perils or setbacks do you stumble upon in becoming a full-time musician?

The biggest one is money. Everything costs money, especially when people think that I got money, but I'm really broke and spend every dollar I can on my music. I also have four kids of my own that support everything that I do. So as I get older and more aware, I try my best to be mindful of what I say because I love when they sing my songs. Also, being a local artist for Erie, Pa., has been frowned upon for ages now. I barely tell people that I do music in public because they take it as a joke. But this is really my dream that's definitely going to come true.

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3. You've done a bulk of work with King Leon Media putting out video after video. How is your working relationship with him?

King Leon Media (multimedia company run by videographer and music engineer Leon Zuir) is one of my gods. When it comes to handling business, being creative, creating content and building his brand, as well as mine, he's always one call away, as I am for him. Dope dude!

4. You've mentioned to me that you have obtained publishing and copyrights of your music. Inform other artists out there how important that is.

Obtaining my publishing and copyrights was definitely a milestone for me because I can actually collect revenue from every song that I own upon releasing it. It also protects my music from being duplicated without compensation and so much more. And I only had to pay a one-time fee to the distributors at Tunecore. I highly recommend it for new artists.

5. This past summer, you released your debut, "Public Rehab." Where are you finding motivation these days to continue your work?

I rushed the release of "Public Rehab" because I wanted everyone who tuned in to see that I've been hurting and in desperate need of public rehab even though when you see me, I look perfectly fine. I accepted the decision out loud and in my heart to really commit to being a full-time artist regardless of what anyone thinks. And I promised my kids over and over again that I will be a major global artist by the summer of 2023. I plan to be a millionaire so they can do whatever they desire.

Yae Culture's music can be found on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming platforms.

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Charles Brown can be contacted at

Charles Brown
Charles Brown

This article originally appeared on Erie Times-News: Yae Culture: Erie rapper aims for major global artist status