LISTEN to their voices raise up as they chant in unison equally blended and tightly weaved relaxed aware not to over shadow their counterpart each has mastered their own art meet Rapper Kayus Bankole, Producer/ Singer Graham ‘G’ Hasting and Singer Alloysious Massaquoi this is ‘Young Fathers’ the Nigerian/Scottish/Liberian trio that is offering something new, different, uncomfortable and most important intelligent “conscious” Hip/Hop more so Pop than Hip at times described as a Psychedelic Hip Hop group they describe themselves as a ‘Pop‘ group marking out their latest release to be filled under Pop/ Rock.
“If you go into the record store, rock and pop has got the biggest section. We wanted to be in there,” says Hastings.
The structure of the group showcases the vast mix and influence drawn from each individual’s background. Their ability to mix heritage and history in short bursts of catchy songs with fast narration; most captivating is Kayus’ poetry like voice that leaves you praying for a few minutes in his embraced “African” accent a mix of pigeon and rap makes his experiences all the more authentic to the ear. ‘G’ adds a soulful raspy mix to the records when he steps in you instantly recognise his vocals listen to ‘Sister‘ (btw I would love to hear G let loose on a cover of No More Drama) a silenced rage pierces through while Alloysious toys with a number of vocal ranges sings and raps but holds greater strength in telling stories that reflect a life full of adventure and pain so pleasantly presented real, raw but beautifully written etched into your memory.
“AK47 take my brethren straight to heaven
Tell the story that I’m living say the words and I am smitten” ‘No Way’, Dead
Young Fathers present strong social commentary a type of Ousmane Sembene production that keeps you thinking it’s not enough to listen, NO! listening is not enough you have to read piecing there sliced up life experiences and lyrical imagery it will all make sense in the morning like a light switch that finally blinks on breaking down the lyrics and still captivated by the build-up of the compositions how elements that one would not readily place together flow so well.
“I always try to visualise us performing, thinking, is this entertaining? Would I be excited by this? Why don’t you write a decent pop song where you say what you need to say and it’s catchy – there’s your protest! You want to involve everyone.”
The groups’ presence in the industry has been greatly recognised over the past two years today they stand as winners of the Scottish Album of the Year 2013 with ‘TAPE TWO’ and Mercury Prize Award Winners 2014 with their LP ‘DEAD’ and currently nominated for another SAY Award 2015 for their ‘DEAD’ LP.
TAPE ONE marked their first release a Mixtape better yet an EP that showcased the bands identity, this their most “Hip Hop” with hints of soul sounding release that features several stand out tracks see Rumbling, Sister and the lead single Deadline heavily laced in deep drums the EP presents poetic lyrics that reach through to Afrobeat Soul and dub reggae sprinkle a handful of self-made music videos this is DIY at its best. This was then followed up with TAPE TWO a softer awakening that saw the group offering a number of ballads. Early 2014 saw the official LP DEAD, a combination and outgrowth from both Tape One & Two.
Early 2015 a tour underway Young Fathers delivered their latest instalment ‘WHITE MEN ARE BLACK MEN TOO’. The premise of the release a starting point to a conversation of race and identity presented in a Pop Album light and breezy with a lasting impact.
All mentioned releases are available online to listen to and also download White Men Are Black Men Too is available for purchase in all major music outlets. This was initially written for publication for a magazine in April 2015.