Vinyl LP, Cassette
Blessed with a voice that’s alternately syrupy and granular, the Los Angeles-based MC YUNGMORPHEUS—interviewed in December for Bandcamp’s The Hip-Hop Show—delivers lyrics that mix fragments of autobiography with agitated political commentary. They’re a perfect match for the melodious, mid-tempo production of New York’s ewonee on the duo’s collaborative LP, Thumbing Thru Foliage.
The dual modes are on display early: Opening track “Ride Dirty,” with its funked-up swaths of guitar, has a casually confident saunter, while on “Sovereignty,” ewonee lays down serene strings and snatches of a wistful vocal sample that YUNGMORPHEUS casually drifts across: “Barely held that nine to five, I was fighting racists/ We was probably dissing you, just peep the connotation.” Later, the cool-breeze funk of “FistfulofGreens” provides a backdrop over which the rapper recalls, “I don’t ever answer questions that the Feds asking/ They were cuffing my mama—you know I had to blast them.”
YUNGMORPHEUS takes aim at socio-political power structures throughout Foliage. On “Rat Race,” he laments the way “systemic oppression got me like a war vet.” But the album also gazes inwards, allowing the rapper to strike a justifiably defiant stance. On album closer “Johnnie Cochran,” over shimmering strings and a pliant bass line, YUNGMORPHEUS delivers the album’s rousing and triumphant closing argument: “I feel that shit in my soul, play the track loud/ One day I’m a reclaim this fuckin’ Black crown.”