Published Feb 04, 2014Young Fathers are a Scottish trio of African descent who make hip hop that fluctuates between abrasive and melodic, often within the same song. Their emphasis on lo-fi production, aggressive drums, weird (and often distorted) sample choices, electric keyboards and noisy sound effects meet the soulful, soaring singing that accompanies the rapping and occasional spoken word, as well as the beautiful harmonies often found in the background. The singing is provided by Alloyysious Massaquoi and Graham Hastings (also the producer), the former with a beautiful, robust singing voice while the latter is more raw and raspy.
All three rap. Third member Kayus Bankole demonstrates an energetic and dynamic delivery in a gritty voice with a hint of a Nigerian inflection, Massaquoi has a deeper rapping voice with a Scottish accent that tends towards a smooth sing-song flow and Hastings rests somewhere in between with his quiet, laidback delivery. Lyrically, the trio are informed by their African background, with struggle often the subject of the songs.
The album opens with highlight "No Way" as it mixes harmonium, a two-note synth loop and background pow wow chants over pounding drums that very nearly emulate gunfire. It's aggressive and a little unnerving, but hip hop heads will love the hard hitting beat, as well as the flows of the three emcees. As an opening track, it provides an opportunity to adjust as DEAD only gets crazier from there. The music is challenging but damn catchy, too, and definitely worth the time for those who like hip hop that pushes the boundaries. (Big Dada/Anticon)