Queen's New York is what budding Guyanese and Jamaican raised artist calls home. Here, Young Lyonne describes his latest string of magnetically charged releases as his reparation into the limelight. Having been in his mental quarantine since January of last year, the enthused lyricist induces the bloodlust of his tight-knit fanbase his the latest smooth pedantry of effortless flow with "I Forgive You." It's a track that finds the Young Runner up against his retrospective thoughts surrounding the mistakes he's made in a relationship, and the responsibility he takes alongside them.
Whimsical and radiating with a tenacious sensual character, this cut from Lyonne's premiering 2020 musical catalog finds an adhesiveness in the swelling warbles of the samples that parade in the backdrops of the mix. The twinkling and atmospheric reverberations here steep our mindset into a state of languishing R&B after-glow, unearthing a splayed out, head tilted, and vibing mannerism in our listening experience as Young Lyonne raps over the thundering sub below. The drums here are minimalistic, allowing the young songster enough space to dish out his lyrics with a distinguishing nonchalant flow finished with breaths. "You had every reason to use me and leave me like I'm so out of season," he buzzes as the lines and the melody quickly etch their temporary engravings into our minds. It's a sentiment related to the self-awareness in a relationship gone awry. It feels like Lyonne is only just beginning this year's offering of hits decorated with his distinctive and captivating subject matter, and masterful toplines.
What was it like coming out of a creative hiatus that lasted over a year, and how did it feeling translate when writing and producing again?
That was actually just a hiatus from social media and having to create content specifically for social media - which felt GREAT! So it really helped on the music end. I was already writing almost every day, but the hiatus allowed me to schedule time to make sure I was writing absolutely every day, freestyling, and really aligning myself with what subject matters I wanted to present when I came back.
On the production end, I don’t make beats, but there is a crazy level of planning to the point that absolutely - the recording artist, especially at the independent level, has to be the executive producer. Besides other goals, the “Best Today Better Tomorrow” project has a particular spectrum of sounds with the intention of receiving placements in film/television. There are also a couple of songs that have two very different instrumentals on one track (kind of like Tyler the Creator joints). I don’t think that level of detail would have been possible if I didn’t take a step back from social media. The hiatus also allowed me to not be influenced by other popular music that gets a push from influencer marketing. This project is as “me” as it could possibly be.
Now, coming back to social media has me transitioning into actually caring about marketing again. Half of my weeks are filled with editing video content, making sure the lip-syncing from my own video goes just right with the track, typing out lyrics and aligning all of that. There’s just so much to be done when you wear that Social Media Manager hat again. Every day has been a new experience with that, and I’m happily learning more.
How have you overcome some of the barriers you have faced going into this year with the effects of quarantine overlapping your own self allotted time-off?
All respect to those that faced barriers when their city went into quarantine. NYC officially becoming a “stay at home” environment shocked me, and I really felt it, and felt worried for my family as I heard from friends, or saw on Facebook, that another New Yorker passed away from the pandemic. That feeling of worry and not knowing what to do lasted about 4 days. Then I was ready to rock.
Quarantine actually became a blessing in disguise for me. When I went on that hiatus, I had planned to drop music again in August 2020. The 5th day of quarantine is when the entire plan of what I’m doing now just hit me. I have this dramatic change in the world to thank for this intense week to week push of singles and coming back two months early. Especially with racial tensions going higher and higher, I’ve been in a “hey, either I live exactly how I want to live, or I die, that’s it” mentality. And, an even sweeter reward from being forced to stay at home - I couldn’t go out and record at a studio like I had planned. This forced me to buy and set up my own recording process, and work with a friend in Taiwan to engineer everything. I NEVER would have thought of taking that on this year if it weren’t for the pandemic - because I was so used to going to a recording studio 30 minutes away.
How would you describe the feeling you get when you listen to "I Forgive You," and does it mirror what you felt during the process of recording this track?
I listened to the track so many times now. The feelings I get now are relaxed and a feeling of letting go, I guess is the best way to put it. I wasn’t going to put this song out! I have 9 friends that I send a batch of songs to rank and really tell me whether or not a song is really good, trash, or if it has potential. The best way to explain “I Forgive You” is the movie “500 Days of Summer” with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. It’s really weird how much I resonated with that movie when it came out, and then almost the same situation happened to me two years ago.
It was just a situationship/friends-with-benefits gone bad. We click, agree that we’re not in this for feelings as we’re hooking up, but eventually, I thought she was catching feelings as I was catching feelings, so I tried to take the next step, then boom - she’s out haha. Making the song just kind of happened, and I was a little upset that it was so good because then it meant I had to send it in for critiques. Then, my friends actually like it! It used to be such an embarrassing story for me (no rapper wants to talk about how the girl left him right? In fact the irony of the track is me trying to hold on to a “I’m the s***” - braggadocio way of being), but now I think it’s a really awesome song.
What can we expect from you artistically this year with your new invigorated spirit and a seemingly endless bag of hits?
You can expect me to certainly absolutely positively 5000% make my way onto at least one Spotify editorial playlist and at least one TV/film sync deal. Those were two big goals coming back. When I did my Hot 97 interview last year October - that was the penultimate goal for 2019. Almost everything I do is pre-meditated. I am definitely getting those two things this year. You can bet a house on that.
What has been keeping you inspired throughout 2020? What can we expect to see next from you?
My family and my history is the gift that keeps giving as far as inspiration goes. God, friends, people in general - I’m kind of weird in that I will get fired up from almost anything. Even someone that is depressing - I will find a way to turn the idea of that person in my head, so that I am absolutely ready to go at whatever I want to get. Motivation to get what I want is one of my superpowers.
After the last single from the project drops September 18th, I have more songs prepared to drop for the rest of the year - to just keep attacking this concrete wall that I want to topple. I’m hoping to get a six-pack too by the end of the year and learn a little bit of acting. So you may be seeing Young Lyonne in some different formats! Watch out!