Uncle Mel –  Yung NewZealand (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

The wonderfully named Yung New Zealand appears to have remembered something that many of his fellow hip-hop artists seem to have forgotten. Technology and progress are, of course, not only good, also necessary but they are double-edged swords, particularly when it comes to making music. The advent of cheap recording, freely available samples, instant communication and the like has allowed a tidal wave of artists previously priced out of the game to be able to make music. Because this is happening at the lowest reaches of the musical spectrum, in the case of hip-hop, it has meant that we have become inundated with mumbling, bedroom rappers and would be hip-hopers using the same glitchy, electro samples and the same trap beats to make, lets face it, not very good music.

Which is why Yung New Zealand is a breath of fresh air, because he remembers what lies at the heart of the genre…the spoken word, the lyrical flow, the deft word play, the rhythmic deliveries, the fusion of language and beat, poetry and groove. And this is why Uncle Mel excels in being both a nod to the literary dexterity of those early pioneers whilst basking in the contemporary sound of the genre as it stands today. He keeps things simple, the music that forms the body of the song acting mainly as a platform to drive the vocal performance and all the more effective for this spaciousness and musical understatement. Remember when hip-hop had something to say and said it in clear and infectious tones? Yung New Zealand does.

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