August Anthony Alsina, Jr was born in Kenner, a New Orleans suburb. Both his biological father and stepfather were addicted to crack, and he does not have many happy memories of his childhood. The family moved to Houston in search of a fresh start after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 but things did not get any better.
Alsina quit high school in his senior year and around the same time he was kicked out of home. He ended up homeless and sleeping on the floor of his local corner store, where the owners would sometimes feed him gumbo.
Although no one in his family had any musical background, Alsina was inspired to sing by Lauryn Hill in Sister Act 2.
The first album Alsina bought with his own money was by Ohio R&B singer-songwriter Lyfe Jennings. When he first uploaded videos to YouTube in 2007 at age 14, he started with a cover of "Hypothetically" by Lyfe Jennings.
After his older brother, Melvin La'Branch III, was shot and killed on August 31, 2010, Alsina became more committed to his music, and relocated to Atlanta the following year. "If that didn't happen, I wouldn't be here today," he told Billboard magazine of the wake up call. "I'd probably be dead. If it wasn't somebody killing me, it'd probably be me killing myself."
Alsina's right arm displays a tattoo showing his brother's birthday, the date he was killed, police tape, a gun, a bullet turning into a musical note and an eyeball.
Alsina first broke through commercially with his celebration of good drugs, alcohol and women, "I Luv This S--t
." Originally recorded for his May 2013 mixtape The Product 2
, Alsina recycled the tune on his debut EP, Downtown: Life Under the Gun
and included it again on his debut album, Testimony
August Alsina is going blind. He has a degenerative eye disease that is steadily worsening.