YC The Cynic
YC The Cynic recently dropped his highly anticipated album, GNK. YC is a poet, a wordsmith with a talent for catchy hooks and melodious verses. GNK is composed of twelve tracks, weaved together as one harmonious whole. GNK will certainly be added to our top 25 albums of the year list (so far).
The journey into YC’s imagination begins with the astonishingly good vocals of Dao Jones which will lure you into GNK. “The Pacs” is an abrasive track which calls for a change in human behavior and the way in which we treat one another. Sonically, the track fuses a smooth verse layered on top of a beat composed of tribal acoustics. From the very first track, YC gives it all, and keeps the bar raised throughout the entire project. As YC puts it himself, he is a “reflection of the community.” “HVNLY” is a jazzy track that carries the hypnotic, Gospel-type feel. YC might not sing on his album, but he creates music through his choice of words. You can sense the influence YC’s environment has had on him throughout the album.
My mother was big into church at one point. I grew up in Catholic schools, with a Baptist family. There was Gospel music playing loud every weekend while we cleaned. It was really annoying. I wanted to hear Hip-Hop. (he said jokingly).
At the end of “HVNLY” you will hear a sample picked by Frank Drake who produced the entirety of GNK. The project is decorated by samples which help tie together the album title’s triumvirate that serves as “The N Word”‘s chorus.
Frank Drake deserves all the credit for picking the samples themselves. He’s incredible. When it comes to picking the production, it was a really simple and organic process. He sent some stuff online, and I chose what inspired me to write. After a few songs were recorded, I started picking production that went along with the theme that was forming for the album.
The album’s fourth track, “God Complex,” is the first track we heard off YC’s project. The hook is golden. YC was able to merge strong statements with a riveting delivery. This track is one that can easily played at parties without the need of being dumbed down for a wider understanding. Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa along with YC are all part of this new generation of rappers who produce catchy hooks and capture important messages that applies to their generation, from the gun-violence in Chicago, to the struggles in the Bronx. “Murphy’s Law” dedicates it’s hook to call attention to the responsibilities that rappers have with the impact of their words. If Yeezy spits a bar, most will repeat it mechanically without realizing the weight of the words they are using. Throughout the track, YC has a very interesting flow. He varies between sputtering words and enunciating them carefully, to placing a clear emphasis on his message. At the end of the track, a fluid interlude begins to play.
‘He’s So Cold’ is an interlude sang by an amazing singer by the name of Luss. That song (as well as “World of Giants”) was written by Frank Drake. It’s about women falling for men who are cold and unattainable, but it’s also a microcosm of human desires in general. Sometimes we’re attracted to what’s bad for us, and what we think we can’t have.
YC’s work functions through layers, everytime you listen to a track you will understand something new about it. This is why GNK is going to become one of these timeless album along the works of Nas and Biggie. The topics he discusses, the feelings he explores are captivating. Whether it is now or in years, human nature will always be subject to debate.
Track nine, “The Heaviest Cross” is one of the most intense tracks from the album due to its forthright honesty.
‘The Heaviest Cross’ is the most straightforward look into my life. The whole album is an in depth look into my mind and heart, but THAT song is more about my worries/fears/burdens.
“The N Word” crystallizes Frank Drake’s skills as a producer; this track is mastered to perfection. It leads the listener towards the end of the album. The next to last track “PWRTP,” is a high energy record that ends with the second half of the previously used sample of “He’s so cold,” a sample with a dramatically different tone than “PWTP.” “Being God” concludes GNK, it fuses gospel and contemporary sounds together, defining the overall vibe of the album.
I was influenced by history, and imagination (being the future). Mystery led my mind to run wild. The unseen and unknown. That was my inspiration, and I think it will be for a long time.
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Click here to read our review of YC’s release party.
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