yoni wolf

Will Schube spells cotton candy anyway you like it

Yoni Wolf, frontman for rap/pop (or whatever genre the band’s dipping their toes into at any particular moment) group WHY? is going out on a solo tour with Serengeti. Both of these dudes are really good at what they do—but the ways in which each present their material are vastly different; this should create a lovely juxtaposition, as Yoni’s oft-inflated ego and Serengeti’s self-deprecation will gloriously crash into one another. While Yoni’s done this sort of tour in the past, the promise of re-worked old tunes from his days with cLOUDDEAD, Reaching Quiet, and Hymie’s Basement offers an opportunity Yoni’s often shied away from; his words are so deeply, deeply personal that the old stuff is estranged from his new work in an irreconcilable way. A lot of Yoni’s early work (up until Eskimo Snow, I’d say; most of Mumps is Yoni trying to distance himself from the persona he’s cultivated over the years) is shockingly confessional. This is both good and bad: we feel close to the artists we love, but we thrive in their discontent and inability to perform the tracks nearest and dearest to our hearts, for our joy lies in their pain. After all, it’s been a long time since WHY?’s played “Gemini.”

Another interesting obstacle this rap show presents is the presentation of cLOUDDEAD music. It’s going to be fascinating to see how their work is re-interpreted without doseone, a voice so defining—so clearly belonging to one man—that he’s either got to show up or the songs will sound like shit. Let’s hope for the former.

As a little teaser, Yoni shared a mixtape via Noisey that touches on all the moments of his rap career. There are some reworked post-Alopecia WHY? tunes, a non-cLOUDDEAD Doseone collaboration (“Rappin 4 Money”, one of my favorite tracks by the duo), and a bunch of old WHY? tracks that probably haven’t been performed in years. The mixtape has some difficult moments (particularly the mash-up of Mumps, Etc. track “Distance” with “Passing Me By”), but it’s got enough good stuff to conjure up genuine excitement for the tour. And, if Yoni’s nasally drawl is a deal breaker, Serengeti is sure to be worth the price of admission on his own.

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