There’s three components to any YUNGMORPHEUS project: he smokes weed, he doesn’t like cops, he doesn’t like white people. The Blackfist rapper’s latest project, From Whence It Came adds hustler’s advice, jazzy lofi beats, and West Coast melodies to that formula. YUNG and a handful of long-time collaborators – including plenty of Lex Record artists – produce consistent, and solid tracks that expand on his growing catalogue.
On From Whence It Came, YUNG contrasts humble beginnings with the success he now finds in doing him: “Y’all can be chameleons, call me mister Himself” (“Hold Tighter // Don’t Mention It”). He does this over an array of sounds from low-rider tunes to drum and bass. “For The Evening,” an infectious track that meets the criteria for an easy-going West-Coast hit, despite coming from a floridian. Even his friends laugh in disbelief on the outro. “For The Evening” and “Top Dog // Under Dog” showcases YUNG’s influences living in L.A. thanks to Al Dali and Fitz Ambro$e’s choice of thumping 808s, synths and the rejuvenation of A & B-side tracks. Outlier “Heavy Bags,” a subtle jungle anthem speckled with eerie pianos will keep crowds bubbling with energy. It’s a grounding refresher from other tracks like the musing “So It Goes” and his self-produced dreamscape “Creme Brûlée” that sound like floating in the clouds.
YUNG solo produced four tracks on From Whence It Came: “Heavy Bags,” “Creme Brûlée,” “Hold Tight // Don’t Mention It,” and “Shattered Glass.” The latter showcases YUNG’s affinity for 80s sampling, bringing Lonnie Liston Smith’s 1980 “Enchantress” out of retirement since L.A.’s Dom Kennedy used it for his classic “Platinum Chanel.” It’s a fitting choice because it elevates the psychedelic essence of his beat selection and resembles the lax lifestyle of L.A. He elicits the help of producer DMH for “Hold Tighter // Don’t Mention It.” It’s exciting how the two lower the pitch of Loose Ends’ “You Can’t Stop the Rain,” adding reverbed kicks. YUNG’s mesmerizing “Used to be hold tight, now it’s hold tighter” floats on before he rips off a line bashing the competition.
“Where It Goes” is an up-tempo take on Gloria Barnes’ 1973 “I Found Myself” which finds the rapper and producer grappling with memories of putting his best foot forward and still not seeing results. “N***** ate pie in my face while I was fucking starving.” It plays like the old original 1973 Uptown vinyl and despite being a rendition, Jimetta Rose’s Motown sound and YUNG’s twisted poetry salvage originality. “Just be yourself and be honest, forreal. Be yourself and be honest, cause that’s the only way the other shit will follow,” he tells NYC’s Halfmoon. Despite YUNGMORPHEUS’ immersion into a cast of abstract hip hop instrumentalists and vocalists, from Pink Siifu to Fly Anakin and B. Cool Aid, he maintains his own sound, but he also doesn’t reinvent the wheel.
At times the production feels too bodacious for his monotonous run-offs. YUNG spouts a laundry list of phrases on “Layman’s Terms”— a murky loop of “It’s So Good to Be Alive” by The Truthettes– that “treat the verse like a dissertation,” something he claims on the same song he used to do. Pair this with a pre-roll and his bars are dismissible as the backdrop rather than the focal point next to such rich beats. However, with an artist who’s also a producer, there’s leeway here. “I really just be fucking with beats man,” YUNG tells QC.
From Whence It Came boasts a score of melodic canvases that YUNGMORPHEUS along with collaborators like Ahwlee, Ohbliv, lojii, and Dirty Art Club, navigate through in a consistent lethargic, yet versatile, tone that leaves no question of YUNG’s flexibility in his own lane. Although the album can quickly turn into your Saturday morning cleaning soundtrack, there’s too many treats on From Whence It Came to not visit it regularly.