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Far away in Edinburgh, three young Scots come together to form Young Fathers. Recently they won the Mercury Prize for their album, DEAD and beat FKA Twigs and Damon Albarn for the award. When you beat the Queen of England aka FKA, you are probably going to be on everyone’s new playlist agenda.
Scottish hip-hop collective Young Fathers return to the fold with White Men Are Black Men Too.
The three friends happen to all be named after their fathers and consist of, ‘G’ Hastings, Alloysious Massaquoi and Kayus Bankole, all band mates twenty-seven years old and thankfully avoiding the 27 rock club. Starting out fresh at 14, the tweens grouped together at an under sixteens’ hip- hop night and then began recording over cassettes and karaoke machines. 2009 was the year their first track, Straight Back on It had airtime on BBC.
After their huge win and basically being proclaimed the best band in the UK last year, they boys are back with White Men are Black Men Too. WMABMT was recorded in Berlin in the bottom of a cold basement adjacent to railway roads. Even when they had glum surroundings, the album is a whole lot jazzier, smoother and more soulful than their previous releases. It has given birth to a new pedigree of hip-hop, one that is elegant, unexpected and sleek.
This twelve track album explores a lot of ground with themes unconstrained to everything that comes with being twenty-seven and male. Even though it is a huge album in variety and content, it is also extremely fun and like all jazz, gives some light to tough times. I bet it sounds best on vinyl. Rain or Shine reminds me of the begging to The Look by Metronomy and remains a favourite song on the album, but it’s hard to decide when all songs are spotless.
Alloysious explains the album in depth, “We came at it from a different angle, a positive angle. It’s got issues of race and so what? Why should alarm bells start ringing, even though in general conversations race, politics, sex and religion are always the subject matter? Why should it be discussed behind closed doors and never confronted head on? How do we help tackle one of the biggest hinderances in people’s lives and the world… by not putting the question forward and not letting people debate positively or negatively about the statement?”
This proves just how passionately the album was crafted. Alloysious has also explained that they don’t make music to please other people or write certain lyrics to do so, either. Nevertheless, this album will be sure to please young and old fans of Young Fathers alike.
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