I have a confession to make: I love music. My day is nothing without music, and what I listen to is typically defined by my mood. I also listen to a lot of rap music, and am familiar with the many subgenres that exist within it. I can listen to the classics, the legends, the newcomers, and then put up something that might be seen as different. I can go from a Kurtis Blow record, to a Biggie record, to a Snootie Wild track, and then listen to Lil B and/or Riff Raff in the next breath. It’s the versatility in rap that I love. I’m not afraid to check out the new sound, and if I like it, I support it. Some may dismissively call me a hypebeast, but fuck those guys. I love music.
An artist I discovered late last year is the rapper Yung Lean. Lean is a rapper from Sweden, known for being part of a movement called Sadboys. From what I can tell the Sadboys love Arizona Iced Tea, are a bit emotional, and rap about whatever comes to mind. The standout is Yung Lean, and Lean is supported by some impressive beat making. Lean’s homeboys can make some damn good beats. I’ll give the crew that. The rhymes though? To keep it 100: they are horrible but that’s not the thing with Lean.
For some lyrics, ain’t part of the game. What’s it about is conveying a lifestyle, a brand, and a way of being to attract followers. For people who listen to Lil B, like myself, it’s all about living a based lifestyle. What is a based lifestyle? It’s mostly about being positive, but it’s also about being yourself. Don’t be afraid to be unique. Do you. Shout out to Lil B, the Based God, by the way. The guy follows me on Twitter. I stay based and he know that. Shout out to the aforementioned Riff Raff too, for he is also a Twitter follower of mine (shameless plug but I’m a cool ass dude and you can follow me too @EJ_Brooklyn_Own . . . I follow back!)
Back to the kid Yung Lean though. The 18 year old (government name Jonatan Leandoer Hastad) released his first studio album Unknown Memory on September 23, 2014. If you are looking for lyrics then you can definitely skip past this shit. You aren’t going to find lyricism here. You might catch a slick line or two, but that’s about it. This could be because English isn’t the kid’s first language, but it’s my opinion (and the opinion of some music critics I’ve read) that he doesn’t give a damn about lyrics. The content isn’t what he or his fanbase is in it for.
What they are in it for is the beats and the beats on Unknown Memory are good. Damn good. The beats are airy, spacy, but also got some good bounce to it. Starting from Blinded (track #2) and going straight through Ice Cold Smoke (track #5) you can blast that segment as loud as hell through your speakers. You might catch some strange looks, but you going to see some toe tapping and maybe a dance move to them shits. Track #7 Don’t Go is a miss for me, but it’s quickly redeemed by Ghosttown featuring Travi$ Scott. Scott, signed to T.I.’s Grand Hustle, and aligned with Kanye, recently put out his standout Days Before Rodeo and he shines here too. After Ghosttown the rest of the 13 track album plays out nicely to it’s conclusion in the Outro.
I feel like I can’t say this enough but when it comes to Yung Lean, you have to listen to the beat and not the words. He’s definitely more of a style over substance rapper. However, I like this Unknown Memory project and while I’m way too old at 32 to check out a Yung Lean show (his shows draw in a teenage/early 20’s crowd) I think this is a fine start to a nice niche career for him.
So, check out Unknown Memory and if you like it, you can go back and check out his Unknown Death 2002 mixtape that was released in 2003. Who knows, you might be an official Sadboys member when you’re done.
Thanks for reading. Peace.
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