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Karthik Bala

Student at UT Austin. I like to write sometimes.

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‘Welcome 2 Unknown Death’ is easily the worst song on the album. With all the comical ad-libs, awkward flow, and the ‘believe me, fuck a fat ho, Adele’ line, it sounds like something Lil B would shit out on a 100 song mixtape The beat is much too sparse to carry Young Lean’s terrible rapping and sets up the rest of the album to be the ironically bad hip-hop I expected it to be.

The album quickly picks up, however. ‘Nitevision’ is a large improvement over the intro, ‘Nitevision’ features a solid beat and a typical flow. The actual lyrics are definitely below average and often nonsensical (‘three headed dolphin, it’s the threesome’), but if you ignore the actual words coming out of his mouth and simply let his voice blend into the beat, it’s a really good song. ‘Oceans 2001’ then engulfed me in its atmospheric pads and dense bass. Gregar, the tracks’ producer, gently set me down in a bed of clouds as Young Lean soothing Swedish voice echoed through my ears as he rapped about marrying a dinosaur and wiping vaginal fluid of his face with a serviette. ‘Gatorade’ is a prime example of how Yung Lean’s voice is more of an instrument itself. His heavily reverbed and auto-tuned voice meshes well with Yung Gud’s ethereal production and as long as you don’t think too much about what he’s actually saying, it sounds damn good.

By this point in the album, I came to the realization that Yung Lean has a set formula for his stanzas. Each verse jumps between three topics: drugs, nostalgia, and sex. Though I am impressed with the variety of ball-sucking metaphors, I really wish he tried harder with his rapping. The beats are all ridiculously good and have so much potential, yet he lazily stumbles through each of them. The quality takes a dip at certain points in the album, specifically at ‘Hurt’, where Yung Lean’s almost whisper-like delivery irritated me, and ‘Lemonade’, where the strange beat teamed up with Yung Lean’s annoying delivery to make my least favorite song on the album.

‘Princess Daisy’ is a testament to Yung Gud’s versatility as a producer. It’s just a solid, mellow, jazzy, track. I could barely tell it was a Yung Lean, it sounds like a Chester Watson track. The fact that I couldn’t really understand Lean’s his mumble-rap made this track one of my favorites.

On ‘Deathstar/Getting Benjamins’ and ‘Heal You//Bladerunner’, the vocals were so atrocious it made me once again think this whole album is just ironic.

The album ends on ‘Solarflare’, which is significantly better than the previous two songs, but the annoying hook and unimpressive beat did not live up to the ethereal eargasm grand finale I was expecting.

Yung Lean continuously switches between ironically bad and actually trying. Unknown Death 2002 is, at its best, fun and refreshing, and, at its worst, laughably bad. I’m still not sure what to think.

Favorite Songs: ‘Nitevision’, ‘Gatorade’, ‘Lightsaber // Saviour’, ‘Princess Daisy’

3.5/5