Tuning in his perfect dichotomy of sun-splashed synths and a self-ironic millennial humor, perpetually sad boy YUNG LEAN propels himself from URL to IRL as he leaves us digitally dazed with his rhymes spitting a satirical reality in glitches.
Blurring the lines and living the thug life outside the box of the Internet, Yung Lean knows the millennial feels all too well as he leads the pack of sad boys and girls, united under one anthem as he traps their loneliness in synthesized trades and self-deprecating memes. Composing a sunny mecca with a dark undercurrent flowing though his works, his daisy-chain narrative is cemented from a blueprint built from other iconic artists such as 6 Mafia, Kate Bush, This Mortal Coil and Kent. “They are the artists that have made me who I am and the reason why I choose particular melodies and how I try to make a narrative in my music,” the sad boy shares of his creative influences. “I really liked 50 cent and Slipknot and wanted to make a mix of that. As I grew older I wanted to incorporate more elements into it trying to make it more beautiful,” he adds. With slatherings of a tongue-in-cheek humor and an amalgamation of synths interspersed with dark, galactic melodies, what started out as a self-ironic punch line choked into a widespread meme in the flesh. “People are always looking for something to follow. I didn’t really set off to start a following, I was more into putting my thoughts and dreams out there and I guess it resonated with a lot people in my age.”
Not one to back down after a tough year, Yung Lean is back with loaded gags and a dialogue only the Internet kids can decode through his new album, “Stranger”, which will be released this coming November 10. “I just came back from a video set out in the desert in south Spain. We’re shooting a short film and video for the new album, West world dystopian cowboy style,” he shares as a sneak peak on what to expect from “Stranger.” “Blood, fire and death,” is all he has to say about the album, leaving us to anticipate the surprise filling of dark-flavored musings in his twisted and trippy beats. “As you age and experience stuff, your music grows with it. I mainly write my songs based on experiences, fantasy and dreams so obviously ‘Stranger’ is going to be something very different from Unknown Death.” Commanding the pit of an online underground rave that invites a technologically overworked society, Yung Lean doesn’t take the Internet all too seriously and doesn’t necessarily lean onto what people claim him to be.
“People are always looking for something to follow. I didn’t really set off to start a following, I was more into putting my thoughts and dreams out there and I guess it resonated with a lot people in my age.”
“Hah, when people get insecure on what they should feel about new music, they always try and make up a new genre. We’ve never seen ourselves doing vaporwave. Sad Boys came from Yung Sherm while he was depressed and thought the name sounded cool and we’ve always just expressed our current mood and life situation in the music.” From our retro-tinted lens, he just rides the waves as he breathes and lives his music naturally with no filter needed, where his verses just happen to churn out a future funk that reflects people’s obsession with nostalgia-driven commodities, similar to your early 2000’s Emo and Goth phase. “I really don’t consider whether I’m making hip-hop or something else when I write. I feel today’s rap and hip-hop scene is more punk than ever in terms of style, vibe and sound. Kids are just going crazy on stage blowing up in a few weeks by putting out raw energy. I think it’s beautiful.” Yung Lean may be a sad boy whose head is always down, but his music promises a bright future ahead. “I wanna try and do more shows in Asia and South America as well. When I get into a new album project I always trying to visualize it and make as many videos as possible. And I also wanna do more fishing and swimming. I feel that we should all be a bit more in tune with water and the ocean, splash a little.”
By: Bianca Serrano
Photographer: Zak Arogundade
Stylist: Curtly Thomas
Make-up: Madeleine Gaterud