by Dan O
Powerful emcees can transport you from your environment to where they are. Close your eyes when the song starts and the voice coming through those headphones deposits you in the picture they paint. L.A. emcee YUNGMORPHEUS is one of those chosen few. His new album sized album is 19 songs and almost fifty minutes long. It would seem daring to do in the era of the 30 minute project but if you know the catalog you know YUNGMORPHEUS doesn’t let the market or anyone else dictate. I’m not sure if this project is his best, Thumbing Through Foliage and Affable With Pointed Teeth are vitally important but I didn’t listen to them as much as I’m listening to From Whence It Came. As a collection of music this feels like the most complete experience in an impressive discography.
A few different factors go into how hypnotic the album is. It’s one thing to have an ear for great production, it’s a whole different skill entirely to curate what YOUR sound is. YUNGMORPHEUS is an elite collector and producer of resonant sounds. Not slappers but sonics that stick to you, haunt your ears, echo through your interior. Look at the names on this production list: August Fanon, Ohbliv, Graymatter, Raphy (to name a few) are all known for their ability to create sonic resonance. The kinds of beats that leave an aftertaste as great as the original. To give a real example, four of these songs were produced or co-produced by our narrator. Listen to the light tones that kick off then feed into the percussive movement on Heavy Bags and try to get that out of your head. Produced by YUNGMORPHEUS. If the song orients around a vocal sample, it’s a huge sample that soaks all available space(Layman’s Terms), if it centers around horns they are everywhere (Free Form Cash Shoutro). YUNGMORPHEUS only raps on music that’s thick like peanut butter.
A lot of discussion happening on my Twitter timeline about who has the best titles. I know Chris Crack really broke new ground in this area but YUNGMORPHEUS is my pick. His word choice leads to songs called Escovitch Fish and Layman’s Terms but he’s not always pushing to bust out and reinvigorate old terms. What You Won’t Do and So It Goes are simple but unique phrases that grab your attention. That’s a powerful skill used throughout, in tandem with a coded way of communication that I want to explain without compromising. When he spits out a thought he’ll drop out the end of it or mask it in a way you have to unravel. Near The Cell Towers gives a great example in the line “I was bussin’ plays F___ing shorty with the liquor name.” You will hear it, pause, and it’s up to you to decode. My favorite of these is on So It Goes “Was in the mud like you was walkin’ round with such and such.” He creates boldness and gravity by giving you only what he wants when he wants to. Every verse brings YUNGMORPHEUS closer to complete control over the page and the song it becomes.
The most important line spoken on From Whence It Came is on Escovitch Fish, “I’m only moved by it if the texture different.” The song isn’t worth making if it’s going to sound like someone else’s or fit too snugly next to someone else’s. Trust is a huge point of discussion on this album, that sickening feeling of being with your closest people and not being sure they have your back. Power structures seethe and wretch while our narrator struggles to retain balance. That’s another level of listening to the album that I can’t wait for more people to get to. For now, you should know that this is a craftsman who will go down as stylistically singular, supernaturally focused and in his own words entirely Self Sponsored.
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