Yung Lean 2013 Unknown Death mixtape is a playful sonic universe built from instant references to the pop culture phenomena that saturated his youth. The Yung Lean we face on his official debut album, Unknown Memory, has developed into a young professional. An artist who knows where he is going and how to get there – an artist who is beginning to truly make his mark on the hip hop and alternative music scene.
A year is a long time when you’re 17. Especially when it includes worldwide tours and the development of a brand around your name and what you do. Yung Lean is wiser; self-confident and at the same time more complex. His lyrics are relevant to his new life experience, memorable and relatable in real time. You meet a person, who shares his experiences, his troubles and joys. The rhymes are still snappy, but now with poignant heart and soul.
Yung Lean vocal delivery is equally matured and in flux. The voice is richer and more robust, moving in harmony from rap to melody as he devises song concepts and structures beyond mere production. In Blinded he develops a kind of sardonic crooning which brings John Lydon’s post punk outfit PIL to mind, while the first verses of Leanworld seems to almost be going grunge before it settles into familiar surroundings of hip hop. Diversity, which as a function means no limits or boundaries, merely creation.
The album is an in-house production, all tracks produced by Yung Gud, Yung Sherman and White Armor. Just one vocal guest spot, a brilliant one by Travis Scott.The three producers have established themselves in the hip-hop and electronic music elite over the past year. Unknown Memory is their step to the next level. Laser sword melancholia, ominous synth clouds hovering over clinical beats. Yes it’s hip-hop, defined as a hybrid of modern experimental music.