When it comes to hip-hop music in the Bay Area, hyphy and mob music definitely dominate the scene. But in the last year or so, a number of up-and-coming talents — mainly out of Oakland and Berkeley — have been switching up the formula, introducing laidback flows, melodic singing, ambient beats, and now, with East Oakland rapper-singer ymtk’s fresh release, All The Right Places, island vibes, as well.
For the last decade or so, ymtk (which stands for Young Murph The Kidd), has been living in L.A., but his Bay Area connections run deep. All The Right Places, his third album and overall “sixth or seventh” record, is peppered with features from Bay Area stalwarts and on-the-rise artists, like Too Short, IAMSU!, Marc E. Bassy, and Rexx Life Raj.
In fact, if you were at Marty Grimes’ and Rexx Life Raj’s show at The New Parish on Monday, August 15, you might have caught ymtk’s surprise performance of “No Job” during Rexx Life Raj’s set. Even though ymtk lives down South, he makes it a point to regularly come up to the Bay, not only because it’s his home, but because he’s working on a number of collaborations with artists up here. He mentioned an upcoming track and music video with Clyde Carson, whom he’s worked with before, as well as a “secret project” that he’s working on “with a couple of really really dope artists.”
Today, ymtk dropped All The Right Places through EMPIRE, proving that the Bay Area has more to offer than just booming bass and thumping 808’s. Describing himself as a “rappy/singing type of cat with an island vibe,” the dreadlocked artist crafted the album with diversity in mind, and mentioned that he’s influenced by sounds that many people in the U.S. don’t hear, like the Nigerian pop musician, Burna Boy.
“The overall vision was to have kind of like a tropical bounce,” he says, “sort of like you’re on a remote island beach party.”
The tropical streak runs strong throughout the dance-inducing album, most notably in the tracks, “No Job,” Free Yourself,” “My Language,” and “Muse.” The point of the record, ymtk, was more about having fun and talking about love, relationships, adn women, rather than “getting real personal” and introspective.
Stay tuned for more from ymtk as he attempts to diversify the Bay Area’s sonic landscape, one record at a time.