After a short stint behind bars, Teesside rapper Yung Hydro is back behind the mic doing what he does best – “Last week probation, this week record deal negotiation“. The MC’s new album ‘3‘ dropped last month; according to YH’s Spotify “‘3’ tells the story of Yung Hydro’s third jail sentence, his son turning three, the death of friends (three up to date) and the third year since David passed – the album is one of celebration, remembrance and joy.”
With that description, its clear that this album is filled with deeply personal content as far as YH is concerned – credit to him for getting back on his feet and in the studio to channel his energy into some positive creativity.
The album is entirely self produced, and flawlessly so, YH’s talent for grime production shines throughout this project. However, ‘3’ is short and sweet, the eight song track-list comes in at just 24 minutes and would have benefited from a few extra tracks to break up the monotony of repetitive heavy bass grime beats; a few beats on the experimental side may have made the album a more dynamic listening experience. Interestingly, when looking at the initial track-list on YH’s Facebook you can see that ‘Over (Feat. Emilio Parker)’ has been dropped from the release, whether this was a creative decision or a disagreement between the artists is unclear.
Given Emilio Parker’s feature track being dropped, ‘3’ includes only one feature. Fellow ‘Teesside Grime Family’ rapper Eyeconic jumps on ‘Told You So‘, his signature lighting speed flow gives the album the shot in the arm it needs – coincidently, track three is when ‘3’ shifts into top gear and Yung Hydro really starts to do himself justice behind the mic. ‘Why Lie‘ and ‘Manz Got Styles‘ are A class grime bangers, they’ve got bouncy flows and infectious hooks that wouldn’t be out of place on any club’s playlist. The final two tracks, ‘Bust My Nine‘ and ‘Unfinished Letter (Part 2)‘ bring the tempo down and feel like tracks with real emotion laced through them. These tracks best convey the struggle YH has gone through to get where he is today; blood, sweat and tears have been put down on paper with these lyrics.
‘Finest‘ stands out as the top track on the album; YH pushes himself sonically both in production and vocally with his this afro-beat inspired dance tune. If YH came out with a full album of songs like ‘Finest’ he’d have summer 2018 shutdown; take a look at J-HUS, if he can move from underground grime obscurity to afro-beat superstar then so can YH.
Overall, ‘3’ is an on-par album by all accounts, the production is without fault and YH’s talent on the mic shows. But, the length of the album leaves you wishing YH pushed the boat out more; ‘Finest’ shows that YH has the skill and ability to come out of his comfort-zone with something special, more tracks like that would have made this album stand out from the crowd.