When it comes to respect. Your name means everything. So for an artist to drop a self-titled album means that not only is this their introduction, but it's also a statement that they want the respect that comes with being the best, to stand out from the crowd of OKs, and to have your name mentioned with the greats. Yung Qwan is an artist from Tulsa, Oklahoma who has recently released his self-titled album "IAMYUNGQWAN". And just like the artist that have come before him, he's looking to introduce himself to the world, and get the respect he deserves.
The 6 track album is reminiscent of the G.O.O.D. Music releases in 2018 that were short yet jam-packed with content. What catches your eye when going through the album on a surface layer is that IAMYUNGQWAN is less than 15 minutes long! Also, there are no features on this album. This sets expectations high since it is such a limited sample size, also knowing that features have traditionally taken the pressure off the artist to deliver on each track. But there's a reason for everything. So let's dive into the album and see who is Yung Qwan.
To start off the album Yung Qwan shows off his more melodic side with "Grew Up". This track showcases his songwriting ability. The song also shows that he has the ability to story tell and a comfort that comes from knowing his sound and knowing what his fans want to hear. Grew Up is a short track that is straight to the point but leaves enough mystery for the listener to fill in the rest of the story. This is how you start off an album!
The lead track off the album is "Ma$e" which is the 2nd track on the album. It's here that you realize that Yung Qwan has a signature ad-lib when he says "Bom Bom Bom". It has an island, almost reggaeton feel to it, the Marley music he grew up listening to is probably the main contributor to this. Ma$e is the first time we hear Yung Qwan rap and you realize just how versatile he is from just the few bars he spits. It's impressive how he incorporates different ad-libs that imitates guns and bullets whizzing through the air, and it all still rhymes. As you can see there's a lot going on even though the song is only 1 minute and 34 seconds, which seems like a breeze. But by the time the chorus circles back around the 2nd time, the listener has been hooked, and it's really just Yung Qwan reassuring that the job has been done. The video shot by 1$hot brings this song to life as Yung Qwan and friends represent frontline.
The next track off the album is "3 A.M.", which is for the ladies. The slow nostalgic sample "Lady" by D'Angelo sets the mode. But this song is more of a curve-ball to the classic love ballad. This is because of the lyrics that Yung Qwan uses to explain to his lady that he's ignoring even though he knows that she's jaded from being hurt before. The song seems to say, don't call because you know at 3 A.M. ain't nuthin' up but legs and eggs. And most likely he's up to no good. But who is up to good at 3 AM? What makes this track so unique is that Yung Qwan is able to switch up his flow without hesitation which keeps the listener engaged with his wordplay.
By the time you get to track 4 called "Teddy Bruckshot", you don't even realize that you're already halfway through the album. Yet already you've been taken on this ride of different emotions. The first few lines come across as Yung Qwan speaking in 3rd person similar to a Kodak Black chanting on the song "Like Dat". This seems to be his alter ego, one that has nothing to lose and is more instinctive. This is more of a street track. The words just hit harder. This is also seen by how the melody stops more abruptly as compared to "3 A.M." where his melodic voice seemed to carry into the next bar. The most clever bar that stands out on this album is from this track. It's subtle yet it says a lot.
Made that niggas dreads shake, look like a shoe hit him.
If I had to guess the next single for the album it would have to be track 5 "No Mo". It has all the makings of a hit. It's upbeat. It has a very catchy hook that lends itself perfectly for call and response during performances. The verses don't do too much and perfectly transition back into the chorus. The bounce of this track makes you want to move. It's all the ingredients you need for a hit. It's a fun track that people can enjoy and not have to worry about breaking down complex metaphors and quadruple entendres. Which is not a takeaway from his lyrical ability. All artists need this kind of track in their arsenal but few have the ability to make it. In 2020 we've abandoned the 5-minute track, 3 verse, 3 chorus song structure. This track is a perfect example of that. The fact that it's so short is actually a positive trait because it leaves the listener wanting to hear more. This is that hit.
When you have a self-titled album the most important parts are the first track which gives the audience a feel for how the album is going to go. The second most important part is the last song because it not only finishes the album's theme but it often is an introduction to what listeners can expect next. Maintain is that statement and the last track for IAMYUNGQWAN. It's probably also one of the reasons why it's the longest track on the album. It's Yung Qwan reflecting on the interactions and relationships he's had. The idea of maintaining, that you can't let them see a weakness in you because you know that it can potentially be used against you. The feeling of having to keep that pain and that weight on your shoulders. You can feel that on this track. You can feel that inner strength and pain in his voice. In the end he's just tryna maintain, which in 2020 that's what we're all tryna do.
IAMYUNGQWAN is the introduction to an artist who deserves his respect. Even though again the album is only 15 minutes long, it was a journey. In a way it's sort of a resume that showcases his skills. These skills would include; songwriting, storytelling, lyrical skill, vocal skills, presence on a track, and so many others. But mostly this album made a statement. So when going back to the fact that there are no features on this album, it's a positive. There's no one else's reputation or feelings about another artist that would make this album succeed or fail. Yung Qwan had to stand on his own for this album. And he stands tall as he tells the world.
I AM YUNG QWAN!
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Spotify: Yung Qwan