yU‘s music puts my soul at ease.
So I saw a meme floating around the other day asking what song you consider a 10 out of 10. A flawless track. One that puts you on a higher plane of existence. Answering that one was too easy, thanks to this listen.
Now yU is no stranger to the Beest, I’ve talked about him a few times in the past. A humble king, the Suitland, Maryland emcee arrived over a decade ago as part of the vanguard of hip-hop artists from the DMV…Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. While the area has no shortage of legendary music and artists in jazz, punk, soul, and more, it wasn’t highly regarded for it’s rap til yU and contemporaries such as Oddisee, Uptown XO, Asheru, Black Indian, Tabi Bonney, and others gave the scene the shot it needed to survive and thrive. Artists such as Wale, GoldLink, Fat Trel, and Rico Nasty would follow in their footsteps, obtaining national and international recognition.
yU though deserves his plaudits for his introspective and perceptive lyricism, and his spare, self-produced sounds. He’s a dude who thinks deeply, and is inspired by the world around him and his daily grind and commitments. His music is comfort food for the soul, really.
yU’sThe Earn is one of my favorites, an album that still feels as fresh as the day it dropped back in 2011, as the themes and ideas are still every bit as striking today: It’s about money, the grind, and keeping your head above water in a world that costs too damn much. The Earn is yU’s take on striving and surviving post the great recession of ’08, and it’s still the soundtrack of today since not much has changed.
“Highlights of Life, Pt. 2” is the final song of the record, and to me, it’s simply a beautiful piece of music. yU has a way with animating his nostalgia, and this listen makes me feel, and feel deeply. The beat is warm, gentle, and reassuring, with an afrobeat-influence to the drums and backing vocals. Here, yU shares the story of his come up, and it feels so natural, inviting, and heartfelt that you can’t help but get a little choked up when it concludes. What a transcendent listen.
I know he’s got real life to handle, but I hope yU returns with some new music soon.