Rap and hip-hop music has come a long way since its rise over forty years ago. From the golden age of hip hop when De La Soul, Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys pushed the creative boundaries of the genre, to its commercial coming-of-age in the Nineties and Noughties, with artists like Eminem and Kanye West. Hip-hop, to me, is music that so many people can connect with. Yet, also it has since expanded to be so much more than that, becoming a beacon for talking about strong social and political issues, increasingly more so than any other genre today.
However despite this, rap music today has entered a crossroads: artists like Kendrick Lamar (with his down-to-earth, socially aware music) showcase the potential of the next generation of hip-hop artists; yet, many artists (like Kanye with ‘The Life of Pablo’) also showcase how tired some elements of the genre have become.
Enter YoungVegas, an up-and-coming artist based in Rome, Italy. While the career of this artist is still very much in its infancy, there is no denying the potential that this artist has, especially judging by the first track that has come out of his collaboration with producer Woolf: ‘Discussions.’ This first taster for their forthcoming debut album showcases something new and fresh to hip-hop.
What struck me first was the use of a classical sound at the start of the track through the plucking of guitars and piano. Additionally, YoungVegas’s repetition of “Every day that I stay alive, appreciate this thing that we call life” within the chorus sets a commanding tone.
The track then launches with a swaggering, heavy brooding drum beat and bass. On paper, this combination of power and classical sounds may seem left-field, but practically and musically they fit together elegantly; to great effect. YoungVegas and his heavy delivery and flow further add an extra dimension to the track, and once it gently makes a simmering, colourful exit on the back of guitar plucking and a repeating sample of female vocals, it makes you want to go back and listen again.
As a taster for this forthcoming project, ‘Discussions’ seamlessly blends genres and styles that seem miles apart. YoungVegas and Woolf really having something going on here, and while this song is fascinating, there is also a sense that they may be on their way to bigger and better things. To all those looking for rising hip-hop artists: watch this space.
Link to SoundCloud: