July 10, 2013

Max Bell is throwing roman candles.

The Bronx’s YC the Cynic was featured in HipHopDX’s “DX Next” column back in February of 2011, just before the release of his mixtape Fall FWD, a solid batch of looped NY-infused boom-bap from an MC in his early-20s that featured appearances by C-Rayz Walz and Homeboy Sandman. The next year YC released his collaborative tape with producer Yuri Beats, Good Morning, Good Night.

At seven tracks, Good Morning, Good Night is YC’s most complete project to date. His voice sounds more assured than on any songs released prior, his delivery more polished. For the best evidence of this, see “Driver’s Seat” (video below the jump), where YC’s cynical view of the rap game is on full display over a Brother Ali-esque beat circa Shadows On the SunSamples from TV on the Radio (“Free Fall”) and interpolations of Green Day are balanced with Geto Boy vocal samples (“Brain Stew”). And with tracks like “Rude Boy Jamaican,” where YC rhymes about his relationship with his father, and the insomnia-addled “Brain Stew,” the subject matter  on Good Morning, Good Night is deeper. Basically, YC has finally started to come into his own.

In the past two months YC has dropped two videos for two new songs, “God Complex” and “Molotovs at Poseidon,”  both of which are set to appear on his debut album GNK.

On the former he raps/sings in various colored clouds with the lullaby cadence/vocal stylings of Suzanne Vega on “Tom’s Diner” while straddling the line between dramatic monologue and blasphemy. YC initially seems to be rapping as though he were God,  but by the end of the song it’s not clear whether he is actually calling himself God. I guess how you read it all depends on whether you think God puffs Sour Kush.

The Frank Drake produced “Molotovs at Poseidon” finds YC doing his best battle raps. His diction, alliteration, and internal rhymes are clearly Bronx-bred. As syllables pour out of his mouth in torrents, its no wonder why he likens himself to Poseidon. In the video YC and his crew turn the gun on the person initially pointing it at him. It’s the visual equivalent of YC asking all MCs claiming to be Gods, “Do you know who you fucking with?”

Now, despite YC’s deity references, neither of YC’s new tracks are otherworldly. That’s not to say they aren’t good—they are—but just that they aren’t entirely rap revelation. Still, they are more than solid listens that demand your attention for at least the duration of their playing time.

At the very least, “God Complex” doesn’t slavishly adhere to NY traditionalism like others his age, and “Molotovs at Poseidon” proves YC is more than capable of rapping in that vein when he wants to.

For me, the jury is still out and the same question remains: Does YC have next? We might have to wait another two years to find out.

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