Hip-Hop, as you’ll remember, it don’t stop. And while there may still be some vestiges of the old East Coast-West Coast thing that got some people whacked–and hung from balconies–back in the day, the world has gotten bigger and smaller since then. YouTube, Tumblr and Soundcloud changed everything. You don’t need to be straight out of Compton or even crooked out of Bed-Stuy to sell a show. Yung Lean, for instance, is from frickin Stockholm–he just loaded up the videos till he found his people. Turns out there are a whole bunch of Sad Boys (that’s Yung Lean’s thing, Sad Boys) in New York City–as his two recent triumphant Webster Hall shows attest.
Yung Lean’s Kyoto, a beat-up ethereal groove that feels like the whole world waiting in line, has had more than 2.5 million views. (Go ahead, make it one more.) Real artist or a shimmering in the pan–isn’t that always the question with new talent? Part of the talent formula, as ever, is getting yourself on the right team–and Yung Lean’s working with Justin Ace Townsend, Yung Gud, Yung Sherman, and Yung Gleesh. (It’s good to be yung, or young, another hip-hop truism, borrowed from plain old rock and roll.) Whether it’s big time talent or just a talent for commiserating with other Sad Boys–only time will tell. Respected veteran music journalist Jon Caramanica just added Yung Lean’s beats to his beat for the New York Times. That’s one kind of credibility. Hip-Hop traditionally has thrived on the other.
(photo: Max Ronnersjö)