Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of 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 “Get Up” by Young Fathers from the 2014 album Dead on Anticon.
The opening line of “Get Up” – “Got no past no future/Fumbling through the ether” – is about as good as an introduction there is to the Scottish hip hop group Young Fathers. Carrying few obvious hallmarks to their hip hop predecessors, their sound is heady and dense, filled with cracks and corners where their low end-heavy production seeps out underneath the three MCs rhymes. Formed in 2008 in Edinburgh, Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole, and ‘G’ Hastings met at under 16s hip-hop night, immediately forming a musical bond and starting work on their first songs. After recording a still-unreleased album in 2008 and making a series of live appearances in support of it, the band’s trajectory changed with the release of 2011’s Tape One, showing the trio moving into their now-current direction. Its sequel, Tape Two, followed in 2013, and earlier this year, they finally released their debut full-length, entitled Dead. “Get Up” is one of the more immediate tracks on Dead, pushing the trio’s shadowy production into an uptempo pulse while keeping the dissonant flourishes that color the rest of their catalog. Layered with slight echo and reverb, the song’s hook is almost anthemic, but rather than eliciting a hands-in-the-air rush, it only pushes the listener further into the song’s cavernous construction. Where so many other songs strive for an explosion of energy, “Get Up” is admirably content letting itself implode, and its all the more fascinating for it.
Young Fathers are currently on tour opening for Baths, and they’ll stop in Seattle at Neumos on May 16. Get tickets and more info about that 21+ show here, keep up with the band on their website and Facebook, and watch the video for “Get Up” below.