28HundredMedia is the army, better yet the navy
My video production partner and I met Adrian Younge in a Midtown Manhattan hotel with a lobby that looked like it was decorated by Daft Punk and Don Draper’s lovechild. After failing to find a suitable interview spot in the public area of the establishment, Younge’s manager texted with a floor and room number and up we went in the elevator. During the course of our 30-minute interview, the Los Angeles-based producer/composer never took off his sunglasses and never raised his voice above an affected cool. He was impeccably dressed in a slim-fitting vest and bespoke trousers; when I sat down to interview him, I became suddenly aware of the scuffs on my sneakers.
We mostly talked about Younge’s new project: a concept record with Souls of Mischief called There Is Only Now. It’s an unapologetic throwback piece to hip-hop’s Golden Era that relies heavily the type of willfully-focused soul music composition that Younge has become known for. Nothing about it feels synthetic or programmed, and the act of listening to the record for the first time via Soundcloud stream felt vaguely prosaic, almost defamatory — kind of like the time I ran over my copy of A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing with the family lawn mower.
After the camera was turned off, Younge and I had an informative discussion about what it means to be a fan of hip-hop nearly 15 years into the 21st century. “Don’t compromise your good taste,” was Younge’s advice for folks attempting to remain objectively critical in a pop culture landscape where hip-hop is the status quo, and the rise
of efficient compression software has fully democratized the creative process. As we were leaving his room, Younge and his manager, Andrew Lojero, were just beginning to engage in a debate about the natural life cycle of musical genres. Younge was adamant about his point of view, but didn’t seem in a hurry to convince Lojero. It reminded me
that haste is far from the most important consideration when attempting to make great music; or fall on the right side of its history, for that matter.