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Young M.A - Off the Yak Music Album Reviews

Young M.A - Off the Yak Music Album Reviews
The Brooklyn rapper’s latest project is a ready canvas for her technical skill and well-earned boasts, but she’s at her best when she digs deeper.

In a barbershop debate on who could beat Young M.A in a rap battle, there’s only a few strong contenders. She comes from the school of JAY-Z and 50 Cent, rapping with heart, grit, swag, and attitude. Refusing to be categorized as a female rapper or a queer rapper, she’s defied labels and broken stereotypes by shifting the focus to her technical skill. As an independent artist, she may not be as famous as Cardi B or Megan Thee Stallion, but her popularity grows organically with every career milestone. Being M.A means being herself—and being embraced in a genre that is now accepting more diverse voices.

Off the Yak, Young M.A’s latest project, arrives at a time when she’s increasing the pace of her musical output. During quarantine last year, the Brooklyn rapper released the seven-song Red Flu EP as a quick follow-up to her 2019 debut Herstory in the Making. On Off the Yak, she’s in that same creative zone, having fun recording songs for brown liquor-fueled parties and riding around her borough. The project presents two sides of her personality, adding Brooklyn drill and aggressive trap beats to balance out her more seductive tracks.

Young M.A isn’t as frequently in the conversation about the future of women in hip-hop as some of her peers, but she’s owned her lane for a long time. She first gained attention in 2014 for her sharp-witted rhymes and realism, freestyling over G Herbo and Mobb Deep songs. It was on her “Oh My Gawdd” freestyle over JAY-Z’s “You, Me, Him and Her” where she first teased “OOOUUU,” her 2016 single that eventually went quadruple platinum. Off the Yak takes her back to when she was hungry. “Still spendin’ money from 2016, bet they ain’t know that/They said I was broke, check my account, fuck am I broke at?” she raps with authority on “Friendly Reminder.” On these tracks, her loyalty lies to her block and her crew.

What works for Off the Yak is the shorter length: 11 songs, compared to Herstory in the Making’s 21. A leaner M.A project means she’s getting better at picking her best recordings and leaving the throwaways on the hard drives. She again teams up with “OOOUUU” producer NY Bangers for five songs, and she’s methodical in her approach on mid-tempo beats. “Successful” is all truth-telling lyrics about winning as an independent artist for six years strong. “I’m one word with 10 letters, successful,” she raps on the hook. When she’s threatening, she’s clever. “Yak’ got me feelin’ woozy, Draco same size as Lil’ Uzi/So don’t ever think that shit amusin’,” she raps on “Henny’d Up,” another NY Bangers production.

M.A hasn’t hopped on the trend of one producer/one rapper albums yet, but it might solve her problem with cohesion if she did. At moments, Off the Yak goes high and low, mirroring both the buzz and the sobering-up. An underwhelming collab with Rubi Rose on “Don Diva,” a reference to the gritty “Original Street Bible,” feels out of place between the harder “Henny’d Up” and the A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie-lite production of “Nasty.” Mike Zombie, who produced five songs on Red Flu, returns with just two: The Fivio Foreign-featuring “Hello Baby,” an attempt at mainstreaming BK drill, and “Big Steppa,” a woozier, weirder rehash of themes from Herstory in the Making single “BIG.”

Off the Yak only skims the surface of M.A’s story, and the decision to release such a varied project on the way to her second album sometimes feels like an effort to test the waters. It’s worth remembering some old M.A cuts like “Through the Day,” “Sober Thoughts,” and “Angels vs Demons”—not necessarily big singles, but her best songs in articulating human emotion. On the new project’s penultimate track, “Yak Thoughts,” she returns to this space of vulnerability and pain. “Paranoid ever since I seen my brother dead/Observing niggas, that’s why I’m always one ahead/Trying to get these evil thoughts out of my fucking head/It ain’t normal when you gotta bring your gun to bed,” she raps. Listening to Off the Yak, you wish M.A had leaned into expressing the whole of what she’s going through.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Young M.A - Off the Yak Music Album Reviews Young M.A - Off the Yak Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Friday, June 04, 2021 Rating: 5

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