“I was hosting at an open mic night called All That on the Lower East Side years ago at the Nuyorican Poets Café,” the Queens MC tells us, “and he came one day, and just fascinated. He was remarkable from my first time hearing him. I became an instant fan, as far as his technical skill, and he has such an insightful way of putting things. I look at him as a one-of-a-kind talent, for sure.”
While he isn’t following the latest trends, or pulling gimmicks to increase blog coverage, Bronx rapper YC is focused on great writing, subject matter and masses of creativity.
Last year YC released ‘GNK’ (Bandcamp), an album that he and producer Frank Drake had been working on for two years, and while the Internet didn’t explode with hype, the feedback has been unanimously positive from those who have hit the play button – even making year-end lists on some of the most highly regarded blogs.
“If it’s good music, it lasts,” YC believes. “Especially at the level where I am. There are so many people that haven’t heard of me yet. Any one recommendation really counts… it’s exponential.”
YC has the rare ability to create songs that are accessible on a number of levels, something that could be attributed to his unlikely idol, Cee-Lo Green.
“When you hear a Gnarls Barkley song, like ‘Who’s Gonna Save My Soul’, you enjoy it off face value and you know all the words,” he explains. “But how many people know that song is about James Brown? You can hear that song for years and love it, and then find out what it’s about and have a new appreciation for it.”
YC’s own music shares this multi-layered appeal and repeated listens are refreshing, revealing new interpretations each time. Aside from releasing his own material, YC has also been progressing in his career as a songwriter.
“I’m more of a writer than a rapper in a traditional sense, because I don’t really like to freestyle or cypher, I like to write songs and perform them. I want to be like this underground, DOOM-type rapper, that’s written a top 40 hit and nobody knows it. That’s an aspiration.”
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WHERE: New York City
WHAT: Golden era hip-hop influenced by new twists and multiple layers.
GET 3 SONGS: ‘Negus’, ‘Molotovs At Poseidon’ (above), ‘God Complex’
FACT: YC played Tony in an eighth grade rendition of West Side Story, called Bronx Side Story.
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Words: Grant Brydon
Photo: Dom Smith