Pokemon cards, pizza, Polo caps, Arizona Iced Tea, Nintendo 64, weed.
What do all these things have in common? They’re all on Yung Lean‘s long strange list of favorite things.
Most American hip-hop fans would look at the 17-year-old Swedish teenager dancing awkwardly, rapping about Mario Kart and think, “He’s trolling, right?” Nope. That’s just how Yung Lean rolls.
Context is important when breaking down Yung Lean’s standing in the landscape of hip-hop. He and his crew, Sad Boys, hail from Stockholm, Sweden–a city they fail to describe as anything other than “boring.” They attribute their “Sadness” to the distance between them and the American culture they love and strive to emulate.
To them, Arizona Iced Tea, sportswear, designer drugs, and good hip-hop are rare goods– not so much symbols of “status” but of taste.
After a closer look, American hip-hop fans began seeing past the youthful silliness and started noticing the refined and discriminating way in which the Sad Boys have chosen their influences.
Aside from a genuinely original aesthetic vision, Sad Boys’ music elicits a unique quality and style that has already perked the ears of listeners across the Atlantic. Producers Yung Gud and Yung Sherman have developed their own brand of dream-like trap-influenced beats, perfectly complemented by Yung Lean’s steady hypnotic flow.
Upon deeper listen, one might discover the strange poeticism behind Yung Lean-isms like “Water in my lungs/ Finna quest, I won’t hit the earth/ Fire, water, dirt/ Too turnt, too burnt.”
Those who “don’t get it” will continue to debate–but what’s undeniable about Yung Lean is that he’s tapped into something that defines his generation.
Yung Lean has already amassed a cult-following on his current first tour in the U.S. The Sad Boys tour will be hitting L.A., San Francisco, Hollywood, Chicago, and Winnipeg, so click here to buy tickets. And stay woke to Yung Lean.
PHOTO CREDIT: YouTube