Young west or a precocious passion for music
Koo Young-Woo was born in November 24th, 1994, in South Korea. If we don’t know much about his family, we know however that he moved in California when he was in middle school. This new environment allowed him to discover new horizons. Very soon he started to listen to different genres of music which influence his creations today, but we’ll talk about it later. However, the rapper didn’t neglected rap at all seeing as he would have initiated Nafla – they have known each other since they were young – to American rap. Among them, rappers like The Notorious B.I.G – or Biggie for those in the know – or also Kanye West would have inspired him. Full of admiration, quickly the young Young West would have aimed to follow the lead of these famous rappers.
Young Creation, 42 Crew and Mkit Rain
It happened by chance or fate, but Young West wasn’t the only one to have such passion for rap in his neighbourhood. Indeed, in 2012, with his neighbours, they decide to create the Young Creation crew. The young artists are trying their hand at music with their first Mixtapes and are doing their first shows especially thanks to the MD Fam crew and in particular the group Souleaf. If the crew is compelled to split up in 2014 due to the fact that the leader EK was moving. Nevertheless, from that time we can recall the mixtape Montez released in November 2013 that Young West unveiled already under his stage name. His stage name is Young West, firstly because Young is his name in Korean then, West because he grew up in California on the West Coast.
Nevertheless, like four other members of the crew, Young West was living in the neighbourhood of “La Crescenta”. In this way, when Young Creation disband, the five of them keep they spirits up and decide to create another crew: the 42 in which there is Young West, Bloo, AP, Neil, The Forehead and Nafla. Besides the mixtape Life is 42 which is released in 2014 – the creation year of the crew – whose track Bae enabled them to gain some fame; musically speaking that period is immortalised by Young West for his collaborations with Nafla, AP, Loopy and DUH MAHNI but above all for his mixtape Flight 21 unveiled in April 21st, 2016. Globally, it’s thanks to that project that the rapper started to orientate himself more towards mind-blowing trap songs with a little bit of autotune in the background and kind of metallized sonorities like in the M/V Going Back to Cali where he is accompanied by Neil. It’s also worth noting that this track is a direct tribute to the eponymous track by the mythical Biggie. Young West literally picked the chorus of the New York rapper up adapting it at the same time to his instrumental.
« I’m going going, back back, to Cali Cali »
– Going Back to Cali
A nice attention as much for his model as the region he grew up into!
However, the fact that his longstanding friends Nafla and Bloo decided to join the Mkit Rain in January 2016 has also been determining. Then it’s naturally that Young West joined it as well.
If people had to wait a little bit to see the artist give his own touch to the crew, his arrival in the label is very well-though. While the group is in Daegu for their concert BAD BAD GOOD GOOD the same day – in October 30th, 2016 – the label SoundCloud account releases a track by Young West: Mkit Rain officialising his integration in the crew.
Following in November 13rd, the M/V Zombie Walking in collaboration with Loopy and, the same month two dates in China with the Mkit Rain for the MONEY SHOWER tour.
He finishes the year in December with the single Somebody and the M/V Swish.
Kind of an influence of the SoundCloud Rappers
In April 2017, he unveils the single Fall in Love which is, like his Mixtape Flight 21, produced by Louis Maui. Besides his collaboration with Loopy on the M/V ICE the same month; two projects prevail that year for the rapper.
First, his Mixtape in collaboration with Neil #OKIDS in June 28th and then, in September 20th his EP LIGHTNING VISION whose M/V New Day and Came Up out It.
Globally, these two projects are more Bubblegum Trap orientated. Basically, the Bubblegum Trap is a trap instrumental with more bouncy and light/zesty sonorities with sounds that you can hear in the retro gaming universe or even in cartoons and anime. To give you a better picture, leaders of this genre are for instance Lil Yachty with songs like Minnesota or 1Night, Famous Dex, Playboy Carty, Lil Uzy Vert and so on (Eli’s Note: well I need to admit that I’m not a specialist on that scene so don’t hesitate to correct me in the comments).
Regarding Young West, if his two projects have that vibe, for #OKIDS, Out of the World or even Fly are two cases in point. Meanwhile in LIGHTNING VISION, New Day and Came Up out it are the perfect example even until their M/V visuals. In other words you can hear these retro and a little bit metallized but also mind-blowing sonorities, with a flow almost comparable to these of the mumble rappers (Cf Lil Uzy Vert, Young Thug, 21 Savage, Lil Pump and so on; Mumble Rap and Bubblegum Trap are often going hand in hand) and concerning the visuals: very lively colours and drawing integrated to the image even sometimes a full animation like in New Day.
In 2018 on the contrary, it seems that Young West chose to go for Emo Rap. As the name suggests it, this time there is more saturated, darker instrumentals with sometimes a remake of the rocks codes with electric guitars, heavy drum and so on but it’s also perceptible with the topic tackled. This time we’ll talk more about rappers like Lil Peep, Scarlxrd, Trippie Red, XXXTentacion and so on (Eli’s note: same than for Bubblegum Trap, I didn’t really follow the rapper’s SoundCloud movement in general, just from a afar, as I didn’t have so much time the past few years and those days it’s kind of the same…Sorry sorry ^^’).
In this way, again we can hear those aspects in Rockit the single unveiled in March, featuring Young Coco or also in 지구밖 released in July. On his SoundCloud exclusive tracks Come n go but also Back as well. The best example is undoubtedly MBST. As much for the song as for the M/V. Indeed, the gloomy visual is reinforced by shots on a red saturated background.
This influence of Emo Rap is also noticeable on Mkit Rain’s first album Public Enemy unveiled in April with tracks such as Vagabond in which we can see Young West and Loopy. The track Public Enemy which is also his favourite track of the album and the title M/V Don’t Move with his saturated instrumental and its chaotic visual based upon a kind of nocturnal badtrip background. For now, the only exception seems to be his collaboration My World with the female rapper Jvcki Wai which, if that song had to be defined, would one more time belong to Bubblegum Trap sonority.
An undeniably curious artist
If the SoundCloud rappers had clearly made a breakthrough on the US rap scene for a while already, Bubblegum Trap or even Emo Rap sonorities aren’t that common on the Korean scene or at least are not that broadcasted (Ed: By the way we’re open to every recommendation so don’t hesitate!!). As a consequence, we can see that the rapper pays attention to the emerging movements a lot but that he still succeeds to absorb them, to give his own interpretations. Despite the rapper’s crowd on SoundCloud/Tumblr, Young West sound/colours is indisputably unique, and his tracks often are a real interesting experience. Admittedly, the rapper’s style is special, and you might need some listening to get used to it and to really appreciate it, but anyway, in any case it’s impossible to be indifferent about his music, his music has something and its maybe one of the most important things, or even the most important one when it comes to art.
That curiosity, we can find it as well in his productions but also in his projects with the Mkit Rain as the rapper is actively contributing to the beat choices. According to the other members he would even been the more involved into the album Public Enemy production.
We’ll see how the rapper’s style will evolve and what surprise he has for us in the future!