Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “Deadline” by Young Fathers from the 2013 album TAPE ONE on Anticon.
Rather than following the beaten path, Young Fathers blaze their own bold trail. Ancient African tradition mixes with electronic futurism. Tribal beats meld with rap and hooky song. The result rewards the listener with colorful, essential tracks that stretch the definition of hip hop.
The trio from Edinburgh, Scotland has known each other since they were 14, and their unique, gritty production embodies the confidence developed by this long friendship. This is a band unafraid to turn left when everyone else is dancing right. Yet Young Fathers possess the rare talent of pushing boundaries while simultaneously pulling listeners in with pop sensibilities. It’s a unique blend that reflects the diverse cultural backgrounds of Liberian-born Alloysious Massaquoi, Nigerian-bred Kayus Bankole, and north Edinburgh’s Graham “G” Hastings. Together the three vocalists ignite their songs with tribal percussion and chants that evoke colorful imagery and engaging, daring personality.
Today’s song of the day, “Deadline,” is a perfect example of the band’s magnetism. A pounding floor drum summons the song’s beginning, and is then joined by a buzzing bass synth and the three vocalists’ hooky, group chant. The hypnotic pulse and sing-along melody speeds by delivering us to the end, culminating with Young Fathers repeating the mantra, “Don’t you turn my home against me, even if my house is empty.” The lyrics are as gritty and thought provoking as the beats and production. Mixing abstract and poetic lyrics with freaky production creates what some might call Voodoo Hip Hop. But defining a band like Young Fathers is meaningless. The trio has successfully chiseled their own exciting sound, and the listener is the winner.
Young Fathers played the Anticon SXSW showcase this week in Austin, and they play SXSW again March 15 during the British Music Embassy showcase at Latitude 30. Keep up with the band on their Facebook page and website. In the meantime, here’s the new video for today’s featured song: