Richmond’s Juganot Da Beast juggling multiple projects aimed at keeping young people alive

Richmond's Juganot Da Beast juggling multiple projects aimed at keeping young people alive

Iron Triangle-raised artist and director Juganot Da Beast has been quite busy these days, trying to cram in working on his debut album while juggling contributions to a film, collaborative music video with some of the most influential rappers on the West Coast, and a compilation album featuring Richmond rappers.

While it’s a busy schedule, all of his latest work has a similar theme: preventing more deaths on Bay Area streets.

The 31-year-old Juganot says he can’t help but recall simpler days when youngsters solved disputes with fists over guns, when they “weren’t so scared of what people thought if they lost one fight.” But the amount of bloodshed that has been spilled between Richmond’s warring factions over the years – and also in recent months — has Juganot maturing into an artist who creates reality-driven music and films that aim to keep young people alive.

“A lot of people going through what I’m going through,” he said. “A lot of people who don’t have the courage to say what they feel. I am one of those people who has no problem doing that, as my momma will tell you.”

He is certainly not staying silent. After honing his craft over the years with several mixtapes, the artist is now assembling his first full body of work into an album. At the same time, he’s been tied up with several collaborative projects, including the film Bigger Trouble in Little Oakland, a sequel to Big Trouble in Little Oakland.

Juganot also assisted on the yet-to-released music video and mini-documentary “We all we got,” which was written and directed by Kale Wright, with songs by Desean Brown of Freshout Music Inc. and with versus by well-known artists Mistah F.A.B., Yukmouth, Compton Menance, Beeda Weeda, Mitchy Slick, Shady Nate, J Stalin, Joe Bean, L’s Da Ace, One Three and Lunacie.

He also contributed a verse on the Doc Dolla compilation, “Real Richmond Vs. Everybody,” an album seeking to unify Richmond’s feuding factions.

There’s a reason all of his projects are themed around the topic of the realities of violence and prevention. Rappers with lessons to share must speak often and loudly in order to be heard over the negative and often deadly messages being spit by some rappers, he says.

Juganot has “been there, done that” when it comes to rapping about violence. He acknowledges that life should be accurately reflected in all artistry, adding the grim realities facing Richmond’s youth should not be ignored. But there are realities that less-experienced rappers often bypass. For one, that life is precious.

“We have nobody preaching positive to the kids,” he said. “We have the OGs preaching the wrong things. Nowadays we’re losing more youngsters than we have. I lost my little cousin, nephew…everybody I know is basically gone through gun violence.”