Timothy DeLaGhetto, real name Tim Chantarangsu, is a Thai-American YouTube personality, comedian and rapper. Ever since 2006, he’s been hitting the YouTube and online social scene, bringing along a unique swag and laughs. On his main channel, he’s got over 3 million subscribers. Here’s our Q&A with the man himself.
How did you know come up with the “DeLaGhetto” part of the name?
It came from an episode of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, where there was a poet named Raphael DeLaGhetto. Will Smith was like a huge influence on me growing up. Fresh Prince, like, raised me. I decided early on that I wanted to follow in Will Smith’s footsteps and do everything he did, like rap, TV [and] movies. And since I was rapping, I was like, ‘OK, Raphael DeLaGhetto is kind of like urban poet.’ Like that’s kinda what I do. You know, Will Smith, Fresh Prince, all that, so I took the name. My real name’s Tim, so Timothy DeLaGhetto.
Was there a specific theme for your channel when you first started?
No, not really. And there still hasn’t really been a specific theme, you know. I just kinda, like, put up stuff that I thought was funny. In the beginning, it was just me kinda freestyling, rapping, dancing with my mom and giving relationship advices. It’s always kinda been random stuff, you know.
So you’re also known as your rapper alias Traphik. When did you know you wanted to become a rapper?
When I was in like junior high, I started rapping because there was like an old episode of In Living Color, and I was watching. And at the end of the credits, you know, they always have rap performances. It was like Leaders of the New School and A Tribe Called Quest performed the song “Scenario,” and Busta Rhyme’s part in that song was like so crazy. Like blew my mind, and I was like, ‘Yo, I wanna do that.’ And luckily, my homies growing up, we all liked rap and stuff too. So we started writing in seventh grade. When I went to high school, people were like, ‘Yo, I heard you rap. He wants to battle you.’ So we would battle at lunch. That was when I got into the studio the first time, and…started doing that.
How did you get the name “Traphik?”
It’s like…you wanna know the exclusive?
OK, I tell people two things. One thing I tell everybody is like, since I build everything online, and when a website gets a lot of hits, it gets a lot of traffic, so it’s like…yeah. There’s that!
But the real reason is that when I was in high school, I used to rap with this guy, and I was using the name Ticket. He was using the name Traphik, and we would rap together like “traffic ticket.” And then, after high school, he stopped rapping, and I was like, ‘You know what? I like Traphik better.’ So I started using that.
But, I might drop the Traphik this year, and just rap under Timothy DeLaGhetto. That’s super, I haven’t told anybody that. This is the EXCLUSIVE!
So as an American YouTuber, what do you think of the Canadian YouTube scene? Have you ever worked with anybody?
Yeah, yeah, I love the Canadian YouTube scene, man. I just like Canada in general. You know my girlfriend’s Canadian, I get a lot of love here. I always tell people I get more love on the streets of Toronto, I feel, than any other city.
But, uh, yeah! One of my favourite YouTube videos I’ve ever done was actually shot in Toronto. It’s with this YouTuber/Viner named Jus Reign (Jasmeet Singh).
Is it “Bounce”?
Yeah, yes! That’s probably one of my favourite videos I’ve ever done, and last year at Buffer, me and Jus Reign were talking like, ‘Hey man, let’s do something together,’ because I think he’s very funny. And he’s like, ‘Yo, I have this idea. It’s super weird. I don’t know who else I could do it with.’ And I was like, ‘Bro, whatever you wanna do, let’s do it.’ And, uh, so we just went in and around Toronto shooting it. It’s hilarious.
So you also do vlogs. Have you ever felt like you overshared too much of your life?
Uh, you know what, sometimes. Sometimes, but the thing is like, I kinda pick and choose what I want to put in my vlogs. I’m always careful to make sure my girlfriend’s comfortable, because she hates the camera. So I kinda only take it out, here and there. I need to make sure to balance the entertainment and just real life moments that I actually, like, put the camera down and enjoy the people I’m with. Like I used to vlog every day. And then for the first two months, when I was vlogging, everybody in my life hated me. Like my family, my friends, my chick. They were like, ‘Dude, can you just put the camera down, please?’
Yeah, so now I kinda just pull [the camera] every once in a while. But then I have moments where it trips me out because I forget what information I put out there. Like I always get the people who are like, ‘Hey, you know, how’s your girlfriend? How’s your family?’ You know, all that stuff. But one time, I was eating a cheeseburger, and this dude came up to me like, ‘Hey, aren’t you supposed to be on a diet?’ I was like, ‘What the- how’d you know that?’ And then I’m like, ‘Oh, I’ve been saying that in my videos.’ *laughs*
You’ve also been in the game for some time now. What’s your thoughts when it comes to the present stage of YouTube? As THE greatest video-sharing platform today, it’s pretty much taken over television. Where do you see the future of YouTube headed?
Man, it’s crazy because YouTube’s only gotten bigger and stronger over the years, you know. I’m kinda, really, I feel really fortunate that I hopped on when it did. Like in the early stages. And I’ve been able to grow and evolve with the brand and what it’s become. I was just telling someone the other day how it’s cool now because I’ve always been trying to do the whole TV and movie thing ever since I was a little kid. And then YouTube is what took off. But now, you know, with Netflix and all the digital distribution, you don’t necessarily need a major film company or TV company to make a hit show or to make a movie. I feel like for the past nine years, I’ve been building a résumé of views and subscribers, so now these companies are like ‘Yo, we need someone who’s in touch with the digital side.’ They’ll hit me up, like yo! You got this following and you can act, now they’re knocking on my door, know what I’m saying?
Because I’ve been building this on YouTube, I feel like it’s only gonna blow up from here. And everything’s gonna…become one, and…I’m gonna be a big movie star! *laughs*
And since you are here for Buffer Festival again, what are you planning on screening?
I’m actually screening “Bounce.” Me and Jus Reign are gonna screen it and discuss it in-depth a little more. Just gonna talk about it, because we both love that video.
You’re also on Nick Cannon’s Wild ‘N Out. You’re a comedian, vlogger; you do a lot of stuff. What’s next for you?
What’s next for me? There’s definitely been a lot of stuff on the acting side, you know, TV, films. I just wrapped a movie, I was in Texas for three weeks shooting a comedy out there. And, um, I haven’t put out a new album in three years, but I’m working on that. And, uh, you know, just trying to take over the world!
Note: This Q&A was a joint collaboration between me and Michelle Song, the current editor-in-chief of CanCulture.