Young Krow’s M.U.S.I.C.-al Force

Young Krow describes his music pretty accurately. The Montreal rapper’s recent EP is titled M.U.S.I.C., an acronym for My Underground Sound Insanely Commercial. In what seems almost surprising to him, his music lies directly between the worlds of the more esoteric, independent aesthetic and the catchiness of mainstream appeal. Young Krow’s rhymes and production on M.U.S.I.C. are creative and forward-thinking, all while maintaining an overall sound that appears ready for the big time.

The first track of M.U.S.I.C. shares the EP’s name and opens with a sample of Alfred Hitchcock being asked about his definition of happiness. The infamous filmmaker perhaps serves as an inspiration to Young Krow with his quirky, outside-of-the-box approach to filmmaking that still led to astounding success. In the lengthy sample, Hitchcock defines his version of happiness as the times in life when hatred and emotional pettiness are put aside, giving room for uninhibited creativity. In the last 30 seconds of track, Young Krow gives us a brief introduction to his style and worldview. Over a bombastic, live-sounding beat from Tone Jonez, he raps, “I started with nothing but nothing is impossible / the world itself says I’m possible / if it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you.”

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The introductory track transitions smoothly into the slower, more atmospheric sound of “Comprehend,” produced by Paul Cabbin. The airy, sustained female vocal note, which is sustained throughout the track, is quickly met with the song’s mantra, “What is life for you?” In the song, Young Krow seems to affirm his own disposition and personal confidence amid a world of constant questions of life’s purpose. He appears totally comfortable ignoring these questions, writing, “I never give a moment to anything and comprehend everything / what’s the life you’re lookin’ for? / what are you lookin’ for? What should you lookin’ for?” He goes on to confirm his path in life, even proclaiming himself the greatest in Montreal.

“Loud,” which features the honey smooth vocals of Vai’cee, is one of those sensual slow jams (produced by Maskerade) that someone could put on with dim lighting to get in the mood for love. The sultry singer’s interplay with Young Krow creates a playful energy and portrays the idea of two people finding solace and excitement in one another. Interestingly, while his call-and-response verses don’t make much of an effort to depict love in anything but a sexual context (“I’ll make your body be my record baby / play it loud”), Vai’cee’s lyrics depict someone whose heart controls her body’s actions. It’s a peculiar disconnect in such a cohesive song, but perhaps these artists wanted to play up that stereotypical dynamic between men and women.

In perhaps the most self-conscious track on M.U.S.I.C., “Question” reveals Young Krow at his most vulnerable. Seemingly contradicting the self-assured bravado of “Comprehend,” “Question” finds him asking about relationships and life in a surprising change from the aforementioned track. After the mostly underwhelming sample at the beginning of the track describing what friendship means, Young Krow goes on to ask questions like, “How many dreams you won’t tell / how many friends you know well / how many devils in heaven / how many angels in hell.” These lines suggest that he has perhaps been burned in the past by disingenuous relations. The DopeBoi-produced track, with its slow, dreamy feel and low synth bass, creates an ominous mood that compliments the introspectively inquisitive lyrical content.

The final track “I got that” is an immediate contrast to the others, offering an upbeat, club banger that is all about getting down. The song’s bouncy, angular synth bass and reverbed drums, with its four-on-the-floor driving beat, act as a needed change of pace on the EP and create a sense of momentum to close it out. The lyrics mark a return of Young Krow’s suave swagger as he remarks on his power that knows no boundaries. The track, which was produced by Young Krow himself, has a slowed down beatbox interlude that highlights his inventive use of layering and interspersing of various samples that can be found throughout M.U.S.I.C.

Young Krow is an artist on the rise and M.U.S.I.C. serves as an apt presentation of his imaginative delivery and wide ranging lyrical content. Given that each track has a different producer, the EP lacks a cohesive sonic palette and there are some portions of songs that get repetitive, perhaps hinting at points where Young Krow’s freshness may have ran dry. That being said, M.U.S.I.C. effectively carves out that spot in between the underground and mainstream music worlds, offering very exciting content for members of both camps.

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