Yung Lean “Unknown Memory” Album Review

Zach Mcollum jamming out to Yung Leans new album

Photo Credit: Dan McAuley

Zach Mcollum jamming out to Yung Lean’s new album

by Dan McAuley, Staff Writer

Yung Lean’s second album “Unknown Memory” is the emotional cloud-rap album that the Internet and hip hop industry needs right now. The eighteen year-old Swedish rapper and Internet sensation, Yung Lean, produces an emotional and heavily trap rap influenced album that is revolutionary in terms of emotive rap music.

Yung Lean hit it big on the Internet through a series of music videos released on YouTube. His first single released, entitled “Hurt,” introduced the world to his image. With his face representing the SAD BOYS aesthetic, one only made possible in the Internet age. His image includes an emotional and sad lifestyle complemented by his trademark bucket hat. This image is consistent on his second single “Ginseng Strip 2002.” It provided the world with a prodigy in the making and extended his fan base to the cult-like denomination it currently is today.

Yung Lean’s sound on “Unknown Memory” is a step-up professionally from his first

LP ”Unknown Death 2002.”

On his first album, critics set the groundwork for his music to be received as a joke and for him to be taken as a joke, despite the positive reviews his work received. Overcoming all of this, Yung Lean produces a competent rap album — both in the way it was produced and in the way Lean emanates his voice and flow.

Production on the album features fellow members from Lean’s Stockholm based rap group, Sad Boys. Said producers include: Yung Gud, Yung Sherman, and White Armor. The combination of their sounds, and Yung Leans’ rapping capacity, aggregated well on his new album.

The first song to stand out on the album was the track “Sunrise Angel.” Lean comes through with empowering bars at the beginning of the song. “White diamonds across my skin, Scandinavian Prince, had to start off to begin, I’m not sorry for my sins.” These first bars serve as an updated mission statement for the Swedish rapper.

The next track on the album, “Yoshi City,” serves as the first single of the album and was released via a YouTube music video three months before the release of the album. The song and music video also shows a new Yung Lean, a rapper with a more legitimate image. The entirety of the album exemplifies Lean’s crossing of the threshold of Internet fad to popular contemporary hip-hop artist.

The song “Ghosttown” features Kanye West-affiliated rapper Travi$ Scott, who provides the only feature on the album. The track pays homage to Yung Lean’s hometown, Stockholm. It’s yet another song in which the ‘new Lean’ is evident, an artist much matured musically from his previous album.

The song that caps the album is “Volt.” It starts with a minute and half production intro followed by a weighty verse from Lean.

But not all have taken kindly to Lean’s new album. Pitchfork writer Jonah Bromwich states in his review that “Unknown Memory, is reminiscent of the second season of ‘Jersey Shore,’ where it slowly became clear that the cast was in on the joke.”

Whether a joke or not is ultimately up to the listener to decide.


Yung Lean’s album contains explicit language.