Bradley was born in 1999 in Galveston County, Texas and attributes Chief Keef’s mixtape, Almighty So, as the inspiration behind his stage name (as a self-professed major Chief Keef fan). He grew up listening to Lil Wayne and Soulja Boy. The rapper admits that he still has respect for the icons such as Biggie, but, as he elaborates, “I didn’t like going back listening to old music, I listened to Biggie and artists when it came on but I never just went to find it and listen to it, I like listening to current music.” Given his youthful presence, it comes as no surprise that Bradley’s freestyle battles with his brother early on in his life led to local fame.
“Nobody I [knew made] music, so I was the only one that did it. I used to upload it on the internet and people at school used to like it so I kept going.” The motivation to keep going for Bradley was the desire to create different music—a quality reflected in the rapper’s uptempo and street-heavy content and sound.
“I was already known locally like around town, everybody listened to me, but after Chopsticks it was worldwide,” stated the rapper explaining when his track “Chopsticks” went viral leading to a signing as well as a separate digital distribution deal with Human Re Sources. “Chopsticks” was a main track on Almighty Jay’s mixtape with the YBN Crew released in early fall 2018, which included features by Gucci Mane, Chris Brown, Wiz Khalifa, and more. The album peaked at number 19 on the Billboard 200.
When asked about the YBN crew, Almighty Jay relates how he met Nahmir, known as YBN Nahmir and known for his track “Rubbin Off the Paint”, over Xbox. “We didn’t like each other at first. Nahmir wrote a diss on me. I was known for rapping and stuff over the game—everybody knew me from the internet side, the Xbox community and so then I hit Nahmir up and was like might as well do something afterwards, after the little diss stuff.” The two clearly patched things up as Nahmir, Jay and Cordae make up the main members of the 15-membered hip hop group. The YBN group, increasingly attracting critical attention, has co-signs by Drake and Yo Gotti with members on the 2018 XXL Freshmen list. Jay and Nahmir have also attracted critical reception and press, with Billboard describing the two as “bandmates trading verses with such an effortless tag team style.”
As for Almighty Jay’s solo work, the rapper reflects that much of his inspiration stems from “just having fun [and] keeping the culture alive for the young generation. I like making music for people—like in college or high school that just want to turn up.” His aim with his music is for listeners to have fun rather than take it seriously—it’s not so much the content that is serious in Jay’s music as is the sharp and brilliant execution.
When asked about any specific content Jay raps about, he fervently denies any limitations or parameters: “No, I could be saying anything. When I was younger and freestyling, I was literally saying anything. I don’t write anything, I just go in the studio [and] whatever is on my mind, I say it. I just piece it together.” Jay also explains that his roots and upbringing have had profound effects on his sound, citing chopped and screwed music, founded in Houston, as deeply influential. Currently, the rapper is working on a solo album in order to better define who he is, or get his “image across” to his fans—one that is particularly funny and entertaining.
Already at such a young age, the teenage rapper has had major commercial success from tracks such as a “Chopsticks” remix (with Rich the Kid) and “2 Tone Drip.” Despite the success and increasing critical attention, Jay doesn’t take himself too seriously, citing that “2 Tone Drip” was about jewelry: “I just got some new jewelry when I was making the song.”