Review: Young Fathers, Dead

Artist: Young Fathers
Album: Dead
Label: Anticon Records
Release Date: Feb 2014

Much like mango habanero ice cream, it is through the unlikely pairing of flavors and styles that new creations emerge and that is where Young Fathers’ album, Dead, finds itself.

Formed in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2008 by Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole, and G. Hastings, the group began performing in clubs as teenagers and shortly thereafter released their debut album for Black Sugar Records. Fast forward a few years and in 2012, the group had found a home with experimental hip hop label, Anticon Records, based in Oakland / L.A. and made famous by artists such as Why?, Doseone, and Themselves to name a few.

Young Fathers, Dead, is the third album released by Anticon and is 11 tracks and 34 minutes of freshness. Lo-fi rhythms blended with wavering synths and coated with equal parts swirling vocals and rhymes that come across more like spoken thoughts then rap. The first few appetizing tracks all offer their own little surprises. The first track, No Way, opens with a double time beat paired with ethereal chant like vocals in the background. The lead single, Get Up, is partly an anthem urging the listener to “Come here and do the right thing, C’mon and have a party” but those lyrics take on a whole different meaning when the verse sets in with, “Mental men are manic in their manacles, I meant to make a metaphor for radicals, Taking off my clothes at the lido, All I got is my decadent credo.” Hangman serves as a standout track on the album, lurching forward in with a dark ambient beat that ultimately gives way to a beautiful and airy chorus.  Although the album features experimental flavors, Dead  still retains smooth R&B ingredients for listeners with more pop oriented palettes.

Young Fathers have cooked up the album that Kanye West wish he made, nestling comfortably somewhere between Electronic Music, Hip Hop/R&B, and No Wave on the genre spice rack, minus the fattening cockiness and ego. Dead is an album you will want to listen to on repeat offering you hours of auditory nourishment. Do yourself a flavor/favor and order up this album.

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