For me, finding new music is one of the hardest things to do. Once you go through enough artists sounding like someone else that’s already popular you get unmotivated. This happens all the time when I try to find new rap. I’ve found that if it’s not Smino or Guapdad4000, a very obvious Carti or Uzi, Tay-K or Baby Keem, it’ll very obviously be a Tyler ripoff. That’s fine if that’s the music you make, but there billions of them out there. That’s why artists like Blake, Ronin, & LLD are so important to me because they’re doing something different to cut through the noise. That brings me to Young Fathers, the Scottish multi-genre trio that’re going to take over the airwaves sooner rather than later.
I couldn’t tell you how I discovered them. No one around me listens to them enough to recommend them to me, but regardless of how it happened I’m ecstatic that it did. When I first heard them I had just turned 18, I was working at the worst job I’ve ever had and music was one of my only things that would get me through the day. The first project I heard from them was Cocoa Sugar, the cover art is so striking and makes you beyond curious to know what sounds lie behind it. The model bares an obvious reference to Grace Jones and in interviews they’ve stated that Clockwork Orange was also an inspiration. So with that already drawing me in I hit play and was hooked immediately. See How starts off with a punch and then goes into this bassline that keeps your attention while the lyrics are being delivered and the groove is infectious. As the song goes on the vocals raise higher and higher chanting the same refrain “See how it goes!” The positive sounding end to that song is a direct contrast to Fee Fi which sounds like you’re hearing everything through muffled speakers, and that’s not a bad thing. The drums sound like they’ve been filtered through murky waters with the piano being submerged in a swamp. The instrumentation on this album is a spectacle. On the track Lord it starts with this piano loop with a chanted refrain over it, then it goes into the verse. They’ve stated that this track is about the type of uncertainty that causes your stomach to tighten up and I think that the instrumentation perfectly represents that. During the first verse a driving bass comes in out of nowhere and it throws off the balance for the remainder of the song and causes a feeling of unease that is both purposeful and necessary. Also on this album is one of the best songs ever made, Wire. A song that gives a auditory companion to walking the wire of dealing with racial discrimination on a daily basis. The chaos of the instrumentation represents the internal frustration you have to suppress to get through the day. The lyrics are the thoughts people have everyday, I can do this dance with you everyday, but if I’m pushed to far I’ll explode. (Sidenote: The live version of this song on KEXP is my favorite version of this song. It perfectly captures the energy that you feel while listening to it and the guys give it their all.)
After listening to this album I went back into their discography and fell in love with their 2014 project DEAD. The track LOW is one of my favorites, the track is so bombastic and chaotic it’s perfect. When you dive into the lyrics it’s a song about how the realities of the world make it hard to want to keep going. I’m not going to lie, a good percentage of the time I have no idea what the songs mean. I can read them all day, but without them telling me I can’t decipher them. WAR is a good example of this, but reading the lyrics it sounds like a conversation between god and Satan. Satan details how one of god’s children has lost their way and has resorted to doing debaucherous acts to get by. On the contrast, AM I NOT YOUR BOY is a bit more straightforward. It details a strained relationship between a Mother and son, whatever the son does is not good enough for the Mother. Feeling ousted he doesn’t feel he has the strength to continue in life alone so he turns to his friends for help. This song is so depressingly beautiful, the instrumentation is so perfect for the mood. That plus the vocals are enough to bring a tear to you eye. G’s singing accents this point, especially at the end. You can hear his voice cracking and it really makes you feel the pain behind his words. I have no idea what I’VE ARRIVED details, but I do know that they meant whatever it does. Good lord man Kayus and Alloysious’ vocals are so powerful on this track and grab you by the collar and don’t let go for the entire duration.
Young Fathers is the future, remember you didn’t hear it here first but we were one of the ones to say it. They shine a bright light on music and give me hope that there are other artists out there that are making their own sound and not just going along with what’s popular right now. I am so excited to see what they have planned for the future.
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