Fifteen is a tough age to get anything right, let alone to handle the lifestyle and responsibilities associated with landing a major record deal. Christian “Yung Berg” Ward signed his first deal as a teenager and felt all was cool with his adolescent fame and fortune, though his parents didn’t quite share the sentiment. “I was wild’n out and they had enough of it,” admits Berg. “The deal wasn’t as important to them as my behavior. They shipped me off to military school to get straight.” After re-emerging from a Montana military school, Berg signed on as the tour hype man for fellow Chicago artist Shawnna and channeled his newfound discipline into hip-hop. His breakout single, “Sexy Lady,” and guest verse on Ray J’s “Sexy Can I” signaled his return, and recently, the 23-year-old lyricist released his debut album, Look What You Made Me.
Like his early stardom, Berg’s first tattoo didn’t go over well with his parents. “I got it when I was 13,” he explains. “It’s two Japanese letters of my initials, ‘CJ,’ on my right arm.” As expected, his parents freaked out, though at the time it didn’t matter to him. Since then, Berg’s tattoo collection has grown extensively, thanks in part to his favorite artists, Freddy, of Chicago, and Randy, of Tattoos by Randy in Atlanta. “I never really know what I’m about to get until I’m in the chair,” he explains. “But those two guys I can trust to do whatever it is I come up with, and do it right.”
Music notes line his neck, along with the portrait of late R&B princess Aaliyah, while the logos of all the Chicago professional sports teams down his left arm show his love of his hometown. The name of his music venture “Yung Boss” is emblazoned on his chest, and Berg plans on being completely covered from the waist up. So what do Mom and Pop, whose names adorn his left and right hands, respectively, think of all the ink? “I’m grown now,” says Berg. “There’s no point in even asking. But, yeah, they cool.”