The UK legend shows he still has more tales left in the tank.
‘Underrated’ is a term regularly thrown at rappers outside the mainstream scope. But those who seek raw, candid rap know all about Youngs Teflon. One of the first to emerge out of the Brixton rap renaissance, Youngs Teflon made waves with a string of mixtapes, notably Trillin 2 and the acclaimed Renaissance to gradually establish himself as a UK rap legend. While some artists choose to create a moment, Teflon’s created a respectable back catalogue stretching over a decade. Two years since his South London Press EP, Blood is the first of a three-stage release.
On Blood, Youngs Teflon renews fundamentals of UK hip hop, carrying the torch for those who appreciate the art of rapping.
As always, there are no gimmicks with Youngs Teflon. His signature adlib still hits till this day (“Now whatchu say Youngsss”), always lifting the spirit of the song no matter what the subject matter is. Attention is paid to structure even though it isn’t an album, opening with the glamorous “Intro”. Teflon vents like a man cruising through town lit by the streetlights, every bar presented as a life lesson. With such rich production in place, the only element missing from the song is a Rick Ross feature. “Survivor Stories, Pt. 2” follows in similar fashion, the beat laidback but lifted by the intent in Teflon’s flow and tales of the block.
“Top 5, UK, that’s big facts” he proclaims on “3AM in Brixton”. Such confidence has to be backed in the music of course. That’s achieved on “Broken Safety”, a spin on Nas’ “I Gave You Power”, verbally illustrating a fatal robbery through the verses and chilling metaphor (“I give and I take away power, anytime that you raise me / Something get shook when you shake me / They don’t want fire or smoke, they don’t want smoke or bakery / Better hold me safely, I got a broken safety”). The track is a musical movie, haunting yet informative of gun violence in London. Such vivid storytelling is achievable only by the finest of rappers in the Kingdom.
Teflon confirms he’s “The only rapper doing multiple tempos” on the final track, “Lambeth”. A homage to the South London borough, Teflon lets listeners know he can do drill if he chooses, dropping quotables in every other bar with ease that fit the beat perfectly (“Grew up in Lambeth / Sweets by the corner shop, not candy”).
Blood is a short and sweet collection that flexes Teflon’s versatility, continuing to deliver what UK listeners ask of him. Even with so many projects under his belt, Youngs proves he still has more to say.
Rating: 8 / 10
Best tracks: “Broken Safety”, “Intro”, “Hustlin”, “Lambeth”