ALBUM REVIEW: Bastard Child by Young Lyrix

YOUNG LYRIX ‘Young Lyrix aka YLX is a rapper hailing from Ontario, Canada and his style is undeniably hard hitting and not for the easily offended. His influences are basically the greats from the modern rap era, Eminem, 50 Cent, Notorious B.I.G and Tupac and his rapping style is essentially a combination of all those. He mixes the often violent and dark lyrical content of Eminem (as well as elements of his humour) with the slightly more laid back rapping of 50 Cent, though he can spit out a rapid fire rap when he wants.

This album is an epic at 19 tracks, over an hour in length, which is something true hip-hop fans will appreciate. The opening track Bastard Child sets the tone for the whole album, a sparse backing of just a slow pulsing beat and Young Lyrix’ voice, which grabs your attention instantly. As mentioned, the lyrics are very much X rated, both highly sexual and violent in content, but there’s no denying his ability with flow and rhyming skills and the hook is catchy.

La-La was one if the best tracks for me, making clever use of a piano and vocal sample aided by a nice backing of a slinky beat with Rhodes, organ and strings. The vocal sample runs throughout and acts as a hook in itself as he lays down a rap that shows his Eminem influence. 1 Million Years starts with a funny sample of Adventure Time’s Lemonstab that lightens the mood a little but this track is darkly claustrophobic, again just his voice, a beat and a couple of samples. He shows his ability to rap fast here, the rhymes smooth and inventive.

Fourth track Bad Ideas (feat. Yung Musiq) has a great melodic backing that had a slight vibe reminiscent of The Real Slim Shady. Yung takes the first verse, and his different style acts as a good contest to Young Lyrix who takes the second verse with a slick rap. This to me sounds like a great choice for a future single. No Man’s Land is a short but intense track, Lyrix confessing “cocaine is my medication“.

Bang has a slinky, skittish beat and a one note dub bassline that pulses through the track as Lyrix weaves a dark tale of life on the streets that is gripping, if unnerving. Sweet Dreams (feat. Cardiac) melds the chorus of the Eurythmics classic with a hammer-blow beat and a cool low-end guitar riff to create something modern and cutting edge. Again, Cardiac has a complimentary style to Lyrix, giving the track variation.

Krazy begins with a dark vocal sample and an ominous three-note piano riff and the opening lines contain the sick humour that Eminem made so popular, but Lyrix takes it even further: “I’m hip-hop sickness, I’m fuckin’ reckless, rip your fuckin’ head off and steal your necklace…”. Bleeding Hearts is another melding of a classic with a modern setting, this time Stevie Wonder’s They Won’t Go When I Go, the soulful piano working perfectly with the beat.

Thin Pancakes has a smart backing, strident low-end strings, a rubber band throbbing bassline and sprinkles of melodic electric piano that are a nice touch. Lyrix really goes for the jugular lyrically on this one, so hardcore in his vivid descriptions of murder that even Slim Shady would feel a little nervous. We Roll Deep is another track featuring Yung Musiq, with a naggingly catchy piano figure, Lyrix introducing the track with “you f***in’ with us..you’re f***in’ the baddest, illest motherf*****s you ever heard”, bringing to mind Robert De Niro’s famous monologue from Taxi Driver. The beat is more intricate and funky on this one, an album highlight.

Bleeding Into Pieces was the first single off the album and captures Young Lyrix at his most brutal and graphic, with an unrelentingly dark, claustrophobic lyric about kidnap, torture and murder. I can only hope he doesn’t advocate this behaviour personally, but is speaking in character like Eminem’s Slim Shady persona. Either way, it makes for a disturbing listen, the rap equivalent of torture porn films like Saw or Hostel.

Tonight lightens the mood with an uplifting piano progression and a more positive lyric about how rough life is on the streets and how it his motivation. The female sung chorus give it some nice variation and again provides a good contrast to the rapped verses.

Friend is another surprisingly positive track, the lyrics showing an emotional, vulnerable side, with vocal samples about love and peace. Lyrix is painfully honest here about his struggle with suicidal depression, and this more human side makes him much more complex and interesting as an artist, to his credit. Let’s Get Wasted is a fun ode to hedonism that Snoop Dogg would approve of, with a great groove.

Gone (feat. Yung Musiq) was released as the second single and shows Lyrix back to his ‘illest’ lyrically, with one of the funkiest beats on the album, aided by a catchy-as- hell cello sample. He takes no prisoners with his words on this one, with Yung Musiq contributing a memorable chorus hook. False Prophets is the most laid back track with a dreamy guitar in the background, though the lyrics are till barbed, namechecking “Bieber, Minaj” among others as false prophets. He has a good point.

Getting To This Cash is the last track and its a great finale, with a 70’s inspired backing track of strings and wah wah guitar, the message of the lyrics being pretty much “get rich or die tryin”, though he sounds confident that he will succeed. Overall, this is a strong album, unflinchingly offensive to many and unapologetic for it, but also with the artistic bravery to show a more spiritual side to his character in the second half. A gripping, if sometimes uncomfortable journey through the dark realms of the human psyche.

 

Alex Faulkner

 

Verdict 8.3 out of 10

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