I have something to confess: I fucking love hip-hop. No, you don't get it. I. LOVE. HIP. HOP. Although I'm a baggy-black-jeans-with-a-hoodie-and-a-Led Zeppelin-T-Shirt kind of dude, most of the time I prefer hip-hop over any other type of music because it speaks to me on so many levels.
Albums like GNK remind me why I freaking love this genre so much. It's a concept album dealing with subjects such as God, power, race and society, and while this has been done (badly) multiple times before, only a few of them were so well produced and focused like this gem. As a whole, it's witty, intelligent and surprisingly insightful, despite the fact that YC is only 23 years old; it's a debut LP, yet it feels like the swan song of a dying 57 year old artist who's had a whole life of experimenting with music behind him. I don't know how YC spends his time in-between recording sessions, but I assume he's hitting the NYC library and reading the shit out of whatever the hell serves as the inspiration for his philosophical lyrics.
Frank Drake has done a wonderful job at providing YCs mellow, yet tongue-twisting delivery and his deep lyrics with the appropriate instrumentals and samples - they're soft, discreet, cerebral and at times what-the-fuck-worthy. Let's take a look at HVNLY, for example; judging by the title, it's obviously about God, religion and stuff, so you'd think a bombastic and heavy beat would do the trick. What did they choose? Trumpets. And a sample from ''Jesus Christ is My Nigga'' as an outro, because why the fuck not. Murphy's Law is another track that contradicts itself by the weird choice of samples - I never would have imagined that a ''Fuck Niggers/Fuck Bitches/Get Money'' segment would fit so well into a song that deals with, well, Murphy's Laws, fate, and other heavy concepts that I wouldn't dare to delve into because I'm too stupid to exist. Really, man, where do these 20 something modern philosophers come from? It's really depressing when I think about it - they're out there living their lives, hitting the studio, recording songs about Kierkegaard or some shit while I'm sitting at home shoving tacos down my throat and watching shit reality TV.
OK, shit, I'd better end this review before it gets weird. Sooo, yeah, GNK, great album, one of my favorite albums this year and probably of all time. I can't wait to see what this dude has in mind for his next album.