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Young Dibiase's life experiences drive his hip-hop

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First album released last week

By Becca Owsley

Throughout his struggle with sickle cell anemia, Cory Smith, aka Young Dibiase, has used music as an outlet to express his pain and frustration with the disorder.

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His first album, “Trilogy,” was released Friday.

Smith is the youngest of four siblings and grew up in a military family. He was born in Germany but considers Radcliff his home.

As a child he was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia and knew he would have to work twice as hard in life because of the disease.

Sickle cell anemia is a blood disorder that randomly changes the red blood cell shape and causes extreme pain and frequent hospitalization, he said.

“So most of the time when I write, it’s out of frustration of dealing with this condition,” Smith said.

The disease makes him take a strategic approach when traveling and performing. He has to please the crowd without overexerting himself to avoid a crisis.

“Overall, I feel it has made me stand out from other artist because of my content,” Smith said. “It’s not the type of hip-hop people hear these days, a lot of artists neglect to talk about their everyday struggles anymore.”

His experiences with alcohol, drugs, poverty, violence and his health when he was young motivated his passion for hip-hop.

The stage name Young Dibiase came from the professional wrestler Ted Dibiase. Smith wrestled for four years at North Hardin High School.

“Ted’s finishing move was the ‘Million Dollar Dream' and I thought it would be a unique title for a series of CDs being that I strive to be a millionaire,” Smith said. “So I just took the name Dibiase and the title ‘Million $1 Dream’ and ran with it.”

While attending Western Kentucky University in 2005 he met fellow producer William “Ill Will” McBroom. The two became part owners of Hooligan Muzik Group.

Since the release his mixtape “Just Fury,” Smith had a near fatal sickle cell anemia crisis. After he was discharged from the hospital in December 2007 he began recording the mixtape “Million $1 Dream Vol. 1” which he feels symbolizes his strength, motivation and optimism to chase his dream.

One of Smith’s goals for 2011 is to be one of the south’s new regional acts.

“Ultimately, I hope to have the Hooligan Muzik roster full with talented and ambitious artists,” Smith said. “My passion is music but I'd like to use my management degree to develop artists and help them reach their goals, get deals, etc.”

At 26, Smith is investing in himself and whatever he needs for his label to be self-sufficient in years to come.

Hip-hop in Kentucky has come a long way in quality and variety, Smith said.

“On the other hand I would like to see our artists get away from the Internet and get back in the streets,” Smith said. “I find there are still loyal fans and consumers there that may not be present online.”

He wants to deliver high quality music and continue to strive to be the best, he said.

“I’ve never depended on anyone, looked for handouts or had any major help physically or financially either,” Smith said.

While he’s looking for national exposure he’s not exactly looking for a solo deal.

“My goal is to see how far I can carry myself in this game and keep control and profits from all my ventures,” Smith said. “The tools are definitely out there for artists to take that route and be successful, so why not?”

“Trilogy” is avaiable on iTunes, at ear X-tacy and www.Cdbaby.com/YoungDibiase.

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.