Inner City Grooves: How Chelsea artist, YL is delivering modern nostalgic sounds in New York City's bubbling music scene

Written by Greg Harris

New York City has always been a place for hip-hop when it not only comes to it’s birth but being a centerpoint for listeners and fans to reference to. Going through each decade since the genre, it’s something that you can take away from different artists that hail from “The City That Never Sleeps”. Although it’s been a variation of sound as of late, some of the root dynamics of NYC hip-hop still remain the same in some artists to say the least.

The new infrastructure of the NYC music scene is very versatile but amongst the diversity, Chelsea rapper YL sticks to his guns by implementing a vintage flow over nostalgic type beats that makes listeners reminiscent on the past while still being excited for his bright future. YL has been on an absolute tear with dropping 4 very complete projects over a 3 year period. Where they have may have different themes and concepts, YL certainly grabs the essence of the city in each body of work and resonates it in such a way that it can’t be duplicated.

His calm flow, sharp selection of mellow instrumentals that are mainly orchestrated by Roper Williams, and the creative direction he delivers in his videos, YL embodies a new wave of New York City artists who still attach themselves to the grit, grind, and beautiful decay of the city. It’s the art of finding the beauty of what’s still there in the midst of gentrification, modernization, and change that can take away the culture that the city was brought up on.

He’s just coming off the heels of his latest project, “Feelin Life”, which is more summer influenced opposed to his other pieces of work. In the project you can still hear the mellowness that’s embodied in his sound but the sounds + lyrics are quite brighter and it doesn’t hurt to have such a vibrant cover that can make the statement for the project as well.

All in all, YL is certainly someone you should keep an eye on because he’s paving his own lane and not sticking to the confines of what it means to be a rapper in today’s time. Knowing his flow and allowing himself to grow in that is the true definition of artistry and having creative control in a world of instant gratification.

Check out some of his material below.