Chris Young Sings Jelly Roll’s Praises: ‘He’s Not Your Normal Success Story’
Chris Young has nothing but good things to say about his friend and fellow Tennessee native, Jelly Roll. During a recent roundtable interview, the country star was vocal about his admiration for the hit country rapper.
"I'm just not even going talk about me because, at this point, I just want to talk about him and how welcoming, awesome, polite and nice that guy is," Young explains. "He's just having such a cool run right now. I remember talking about this music he's putting out [now] well over a year ago."
Jelly Roll — whose real name is Jason DeFord — has been riding a new wave of career success over the past year. His 2022 single "Son of a Sinner" climbed to No. 1 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart, marking his first radio hit in the genre since launching his career in 2010.
"It's just amazing to see him having the moment he's having," Young continues. "I think he is kind of that person that [thinks], 'Hey, I can, I can do multiple genres. I can kind of hop back and forth. I just want to create,' and I think not everybody can do that. It's really, really cool."
"He's just worked hard for a really long time. He talks about the struggles he's had in his life and the things he's been through. He is not your normal success story."
In a recent interview with the People Every Day podcast, Jelly Roll talked openly about the three-and-a-half years he spent at a juvenile detention center before being charged as an adult for a crime he committed in his youth. During that time behind bars, he discovered his passion for creating music, which he began to pursue after his release.
As he's continued to build a career over the years as a genre-bending artist, Jelly Roll has been determined to use his platform for good. Aside from sharing his own story, the 38-year-old has helped raise thousands to fund the construction of a recording studio at the Davidson County Juvenile Detention Center and even visited and even performed a special show for inmates.
"He's just himself and he's welcoming to everyone else," Young notes. That's why you see me, Sam Hunt and everybody else getting up at his show and getting to play with him."
Roll's recent headlining show at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena included an array of surprise collaborations, including appearances from Riley Green, Ernest, Hunt and Young, who performed his 2020 hit featuring Kane Brown, "Famous Friends."
"It was a really cool moment seeing him in Bridgestone. I was originally supposed to do that before COVID with him when he was going to play the Ryman," he adds.
As Young preps a new batch of music, including his latest single, "Looking for You," he says he's open to recording something special with Jelly Roll.
"Absolutely. I think he may see something from both of us at some point," he teases. "I always say this about collaborations... it's got to be the right song. But I absolutely could see something like that happening in the future."
Until then, fans can catch Jelly Roll out on the road when his 2023 Backroad Baptism Tour kicks off this July. The trek, which includes 44 stops across the U.S., features support from Ashley McBryde, Elle King and Chase Rice on select dates.