Genre: Rap / trap / RnB
Best track: 213
Weakest track: So Bad
Release date: July 18, 2021
Duration: 13 min 22 sec
There’s a rise in young Indians chasing their passion for hip-hop, rapping not only in Indian languages, but also in English. Pulling it off really well, Shillong-based rapper, Youngg Natee, is the latest addition to this growing movement.
Under the music collective, MOX (“Movement of Expression”), the 18-year old has released his debut EP, ‘Youngg & Ambitiou$’. The EP borrows heavily from the trendy sounds of American West Coast rap such as trap beats and visible auto-tune. The rapper has credited the RnB singer and rapper, Drake, alongside Travis Scott and JUICE WRLD, for influencing his craft, and we surely hear their influences in this record.
Natee pulls off what has proven to be rather difficult for Indian rappers, old and young, who rap in English: rapping in an American accent. Impressively, Natee pulls it off with the swag of an A$AP Mob disciple.
There’s no awkwardness in listening to him rap about very ‘American city’ themes, i.e. the struggle of hustle culture, dreaming of owning fancy cars, wearing high end brands, running from gold diggers, searching for something true and real.
It should feel uncanny to hear these themes from a teenager from Meghalaya. But somehow, the rapper makes it work with his sheer confidence. “213” is a strong opener for the EP with some smart wordplay. The rapper is on his game with the lyrics in the next song too, called “California Dreamin.
This track has an unshakably infectious beat. Youngg Natee raps about disaffected youth, ambition, money, luxury and labour, but most importantly, wanting to prove your worth to a testing world.
“So Bad” also has impressive lyrics such as the line “my life is a puzzle, you don’t have to tell me where the pieces go”. The artist occasionally seems to fall back into tried and tired words that act as fillers such as “b*tch” and “hoe”. It is as if he couldn’t come up with good enough words to complete the verses so he resorted to the standard fallbacks for every rapper these days.
Hence, the second halves of “So Bad” and “California Dreamin’” feel lyrically lazy in contrast to how they first start off. If this flaw can be shrugged off, then the next track is enjoyable as heck. The beat in “Givenchy” is delightfully thick with a very typical American ‘trap’ beat. But it’s still great to see an Indian artist make the kind of music that can compete with young rappers from the other side of the world.
With lines like “Hate me so put me on a hate list”, the rapper declares his will to stay true to himself while also making time for self-indulgence. We finally reach the closing track, “Cold As Ice”. It’s more laid back than the tracks before, which makes sense because it is Natee indicating to us that it’s time to wrap up after the whirlwind we just underwent.
‘Youngg & Ambitiou$’ is a fun little mixtape to play on a car ride or even while finishing an assignment. It plays like lo-fi “study music” that will help you concentrate on the work at hand. It’s a short and breezy listen which never overstays for too long but just enough to make you go, “that was good, actually. Alexa, play it again”.
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