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!
Make sure you follow Yung Qwan on social media:
Spotify: Yung Qwan
What an event! I'm talking about the Listening Party for 2Peece's EP "Sometime in June". The event was held on September 29th at The Black Wall Street Gallery. The host, 2Peece was dressed sharp to the letter T. Smiling as always, he was noticeably excited about letting everyone to hear about this amazing journey he's been on. So let's get into the event and the project called "Sometime in June".
This episode of Tulsa Lines Podcast we were at 2Peece's Listening Party for the "Sometime In June" EP.
We were able to interview a few artists: @the2peece) and host Duke Durant (@therealdukedurant)
One of the special gifts of the night from 2Peece was a customized bag of chips with the "Sometime in June" cover art. When you turn the bag around you notice that the ingredients of the chips are the actual names of the songs featured on the project. Also featured on the packaging is a picture of 2Peece as well as a QR Code that allows for you to go straight to the album for purchase. This was truly out of this world packaging.
Hope you enjoy!
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In this day and age the next album is only one post away. That's because music is released by the push of a button. Almost simultaneously all your music can be available to the masses. Gone are the early childhood memories of waiting until Tuesday for an album to drop and wanting to be the first one of your friends to bump it in your speakers. An album drop was an event. Numerous times I cleared my whole day and shut door, hidden in my room I would engulf myself in the world that the album created through it's musical production and it's vivid lyrics. These times are long gone. Except for when you talk about the album VSXO. 1st Verse who released the project late last year went against the norm and only released physical copies of the album (granted he would send you the files), but this was a bold statement, a $30 physical CD in this new world of free music. Post Napster. An artist would never be successful using this model. That's when you realize that 1st Verse isn't your everyday artist.
A popular quote by Bernard Clive goes, "The loudest voice in a room is sometimes the quietest." No artists expresses this more than the Tulsa artist named Shyheim. His quiet and reserved nature masks his ability to slaughter his competition. His tracks often show just how surgical his pen is, as there is no waisted energy in his lyrical attacks. His alter ego "Shy Guy" is fitting for an artist who can both be the hero, but isn't also afraid to be the villian. Let's get to know Shyheim:
"I'm the kind of man who likes to know who's loopin, these beats, Bambi." This is exactly what listeners want to know. Just who is making these crazy beats? The culprit would be DJ Noname.. Who in only a short time has become one of my favorite producers and has been on a crazy run dropping EPs with the top tier artists in the town. He's become what some would call an album crate archeologists how he is able to dig through samples uncovering masterpieces that are so soulful and so filling .He made 'Snackin With Flavor' that proved his culinary skills to whip up one of the best projects of the year. I say one of the best because his EPs appear multiple times for this category of musical bliss. This time is no different, as he drops an EP with Bambi titled "Your Money's No Good Here".
In 2020 there has not been much to celebrate. That would be a lie. You alive. It's not quite YOLO. But it is live life to the fullest. One of the best things that has come out of 2020 was my interview with The Juice Radio Show. It's a local radio show in Tulsa that is apart of the Bobby Eaton radio broadcast. What's so great about it is that it's totally grassroots. OR out the mud. No waiting for major sponsors. No waiting for big radio studios. Just the DIY spirit and the support of the TOWN. That's what makes it so special. So when I got the call about Tulsa Lines doing an interview. I jumped at the opportunity to be apart of the show and see it's greatness up close and in person.
In Hip-Hop the main topic that comes up is haters. Rappers glorify the hate. Because if you don't have haters, then you aren't successful. Look at artists like 50 Cent and Tekashi 6ix9ine who built whole careers off hate and trolling. You gotta admit that hate sells. Ask 50 Cent who again profited off hate by selling "G-U-Not" shirts because he saw an opportunity to capitalize off hate. But when did I become a hater? I would say the exact moment is when I saw a post on the ï»¿@Fireinlittleafricaï»¿ page.
"You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." These words sum up Bash The Rappa's career. At his highest of highs, he was the underdog on the come up from a town that supported him and peers that both admired and envied him. But what happens when you start winning too much? America loves underdogs and they love a winner, but what America doesn't like is someone who wins too much. America doesn't like to see David turn into Goliath. That's when you become the villain. And for Bash The Rappa the price of his success was his transition from the hometown hero to now the villain. But how did he become the villain? This is a question Bash The Rappa sets out to explore in his new video "Letter To The Town".
And I was never the perfect ki-d,
The church has always been a staple in the black community. For generations it has been a place of not only worship, but has also been a place of family, community, values, and overall a place that prepared you for living a Holy life. And anyone who has lived on the northside of Tulsa knows that church is a way of life. Especially on a Sunday. Sunday is The Lord's day, and in north Tulsa this means churches are filled with family and friends who are all coming to hear The Word. The church is more than just a building, It's sacred land. One church that's a symbol of northside churches is the Praise Center Family Church located between North Peoria and MLK right on Apache. It's here that local rapper Steph Simon chooses to shoot a scene from his video Silver n' Gold which features fellow artist and churchgoer Dialtone. The two actually went to church together and have a long time friendship and have numerous collaborations together. But it's 45 seconds into the video that you hear Steph Simon disrespect this sacred land as he raps, "starring at the baddest bitches off in the serv-ices".
"Feel a way we riot. Feel a way we hittin' Kapernicks."
In these 2 bars the word "feel" gives each bar power. Because to feel, is to be alive. Toree T. is an artist from Tulsa that is bringing that feeling back to hip-hop. Every bar. Every syllable. But most importantly every song has a message that listeners feel. Of course she's a dope emcee that can at any moment flex her lyrical muscles, but that wouldn't be what's needed in music right now. Especially when people need music that will make them feel what's really going in the world, Toree T. decided she couldn't be silent, she would tell the story the best way she knew how. Let's get to know Toree. T.: