Album: Young Mass (2008)
Artist: Young Mass
Where available/price: Access Music in Pacific Beach for $8.95. Online at CDBaby for $7.99, Amazon for $8.99, and iTunes for $9.99
Songs: 1) Intro — Message from Shock G 2) Let That Knockk 3) Blue Skyy (remix) 4) On the Grind 5) Let It Go 6) The Stars 7) Get up and Move 8) Never a Touchdown 9) Freak-ish 10) Struggles 11) Blue Skyy 12) We Drop Bombs 13) The 5th 14) Old Flames 15) Young N***a 16) Left Shoes 17) Fair Well 18) The World 19) Best 4 You 20) The Return
Band: Derrick “Young Mass” Stanton (vocals, keyboard, programming), Yukmouth (vocals), Shock G (vocals), Money B (vocals), Mimi (vocals), Kenya Gruv (guitar), Dotrix 4000 (turntables)
It’s hard to find a rap album that doesn’t fall into the predictable traps of the genre. Popular radio hip-hop albums drip with boasts of diamonds and champagne or the dope-smoking gangster ideals of outpacing police; Young Mass melds many recent innovations from the rap game, including tightly packed keyboarding and programming, but leaves the fur coat and yacht clichés alone.
In what could be characterized as traditional lyrics, Young Mass remembers that rap began as poems about mean streets, and he favors lines about shooting dice, cheap booze, and maybe cheaper women without being overly misogynistic. This could be a great boxing-gym album — plenty of lyrics of struggle and hustles.
Driving home the idea that this is a West Coast album are the lines of decidedly 1970s funk-ish guitar and piano, intentional or unintentional hat-tips to Tupac, and featured guest vocalists such as Oakland Bay industry heavyweights Yukmouth and Shock G. Shock G you’d probably know better as “Humpty Hump,” and it’s comforting to hear his smooth voice in all its glory and whimsy.