Corey Barrett, better known by his main YouTube channel, Tall Guy Car Reviews, grew up in a rough neighborhood in North Minneapolis. Being a “light-skinned brother with green eyes and curly hair” didn’t help matters. He had a hard time fitting in and would often get into fights.
As a result, Tall Guy was always getting kicked out of school. He started smoking weed—with his dad, of all people—at about age 12. He quit school, altogether, after his freshman year; and was “in the streets” from that point on.
Tall Guy Car Reviews began stealing, selling weed, he even sold crack a time or two. At 16, he got busted and decided it wasn’t worth it. He bounced around from one low-paying job to the next: a kids daycare, Menards, Arby’s, Culver’s, Subway, Wendy’s, Marshalls, you name it. He stole cash and clothes to supplement his puny paychecks.
Eventually he slips back into his street ways, starts robbing people with fake guns and BB guns. In February of 2007, an actual SWAT Team busted into his house and arrested him after tracking a stolen cellphone back to his crib.
Tall Guy was sentenced to six years in prison. He served four. While behind bars, he hit his growth spurt and shot up to a towering six-ten. Two years into his sentence, he earned his GED.
When he got out, following his brother’s advice, he applied to a Division III school and tried out for the basketball team, which he made. He later transferred to a D1 college, but his playing days were cut short when they booted him after discovering his criminal past.
Despite this, Tall Guy Car Reviews got several offers to play ball overseas. He ends up signing a contract, and the day before he was scheduled to leave, he blows out his knee while practicing. There goes that plan.
Down and out, figuring something has to go right in his life, he leases his dream car at the time (a Dodge Hellcat) for $600 a month. It was surreal, driving it around every day. He wanted other people to experience that joy of driving their dream car.
“Something came over me, and I was like, ‘I wanna make a YouTube and tell people that they can do this too,'” he recalled. And, well, here we are—talking about his net worth, which is approximately $2 million dollars today.
When pressed by fellow car enthusiast, Todd Johnson, for his secret sauce—how he crossed more than a million subscribers on YouTube—Tall Guy Car Reviews had this to say: “Be yourself. Be original. Be consistent. Go hard as f*ck. Take leaps of faith and take big risks. Do that, and be relentless at everything I just said.”
Also, finding a niche didn’t hurt. Tall Guy explained how he’d watched car channels on YouTube for six years straight, and still, nobody was catering to big dudes, so he thought, “Hmm, why not me?”
In addition, he was sick of other YouTubers not keeping it 100. They weren’t telling their subscribers how they could drive similar cars. They’d lie and act like everything’s paid for—and they own it free and clear—when, in fact, they were actually leasing their rides. Tall Guy Car Reviews believed his transparency would set him apart. He was right.
One last thing. Tall Guy can’t stress this enough: your “why” is everything. “If you’re doing it for just, ‘I’m gonna do this and this is gonna make me rich,’ you’re doing it for the wrong reason,” he warned.
Passion is a start, sure, but why else are you doing what you’re doing? What’s the bigger driving force? Tall Guy believes he’s doing God’s work—to lift others up and show ’em what’s possible. What about you?