Hello and welcome to the third and most Wednesday-like of FILL sessions thus far here at Portside
Up this week are a Hip-Hop trio based out of Edinburgh, UK and consisting of a Liberian (Alloysious Massaquo), a Nigerian (Kayus Bankole) and a solitary Scot (Graham Hastings ), although I believe all were raised in Scotland to some effect after hearing a few of their past interviews.
Forming in 2008 YF brought out their first record ‘Inconceivable child…conceived’ on Black Sugar Records. Coming out with a bright sound and breezy aesthetic, very distant from what we have today, there were comparisons to ‘De la Soul’ and ‘3T’. This guise lasted one album and a three year touring stint but in 2011 with label ditched and having acquired a darker, more soulful edge, YF returned with the free EP ‘tape one’.
Unluckily for you and me (unless you know your shit) that EP was re-released on Anticon records in January so it is no longer free…gutted. However you can stream till your heart’s content here on soundcloud:
The first track ‘Deadline’ is full of heavy thumping bass and vocals which are very melodic but delivered with power, a kind of protest song. The line:
‘Don’t you turn my home against me, even though my house is empty’
stands out as being particularly prophetic considering the superficial trappings of this current generation.
‘Sister’ comes through in a similar vein and the way Alloysious pronounces ‘little’, ‘hero’, ‘now’ and every other end of a sentence causes me to bump my head that little bit harder. Maybe it’s the natural affinity I have for my own regional bit of the English language but the highly positive critical reception of the trio certainly bucks the established trend. Scottish accents have sometimes been maligned and patronized in the UK Hip-Hop scene in the past, but when showcased here it provides substance which serves to further impress that ‘Young Fathers’ have a personality all of their own. ‘Cock-a-Leekie Soup’ even turns up in ‘Remains’ which is definitely worth a mention.
After this the record mellows out a bit and settles into some quietly dark pieces but with that marching bass still featured throughout. At one point we also catch a little bit of reggae/R’n’B in the distorted ‘Romance’.
With the reception of 'Tape 1' still fresh YF signed with Los Angeles based label Anticon at the close of 2012. YF's second EP 'Tape 2' was then released in June of this year, again to generally positive reviews. 'Tape 2' further exhibits the growing maturity of the YF sound. The heavy african beats and strong vocals are still there but now complimented by multiple layers of fuzzed bass and electronic stabs, sometimes subtle, often sparse, but wonderfully put together. You still get that raw ‘Tape 1’ sound on tracks like 'Mr. Martyr' and 'The Queen is Dead' but this new minimalist approach to the arrangement and inevitable step up in production becomes apparent on 'I Heard', 'Way down in the Hole' and 'Ebony Sky' among others. At times sounding not unlike 'The Weeknd' but with a purpose more full of grit and soul. Overall the EP is a tighter, fuller record than its predecessor and continues this Edinburgh outfit’s rise in stature.
This leads us to the release of a third and full length record from YF this coming year (the last two came in at about 20 minutes apiece). ‘Dead’ comes to us in February of 2014 and the lead single ‘Low’ is available right now as a wee teaser to the rest of the album. If ‘Low’ is anything to by, 2014 is going to be an extremely busy for Young Fathers.
FREE DOWNLOAD of ‘The Guide’:
Young Fathers – Way Down in the Hole (as I couldn’t find it anywhere else):
Young Fathers Homepage: