Pushing Through It All: Young Harry’s “Live 4 The Dead” Album Review
Young Harry, a Korea-American Hip-hop artist, has had a steady rise in attention since his 2018 debut with Y.H season. The rapper, who is in his early 20s, showcases his American rap influences in his 2nd studio album Live 4 The Dead, which dropped on the 20th of January.
The album cover features a beautiful, dreamy design of Harry smoking on a grave surrounded by flowers, with a framed picture resting on his lap. The grave seems to be in reference to the passing of Harry’s own father, which he certainly has not left out in the writing of his songs. It’s mentioned in more than one track of the album, and in the concluding track Live For The Dead, he shares, “I just wanna see my momma happy / I just want my daddy to be proud of me.” It’s a pure, human feeling many of his listeners will resonate with. When Harry celebrated the release on Twitter, he tweeted, “This one for u pops”.
It’s clear his relationships, including that with his parents, has had a large influence on his music. As he wrote his songs, the pen he used is a figurative knife that cuts deep into his personal life, his past relationships, and his emotions, which he pours out into his music and to his loyal listeners. The lyricism is raw, and many can empathise with the words Young Harry has to offer.
The entire album is composed of 13 tracks, mostly of Hip-hop elements, with clean instrumentals and autotune. He touches on many of his own hardships, including the details of his tough upbringing where he had to share a room with his mum and sister as a child. His music has a deep sense of realness to it, and he often emphasises both in his lyrics and on social media that he does music for his family, for those that are loyal to him, and ultimately for himself.
With the release of the album came a music video to the second track Takin’ Nun. In the video he’s hanging out with his friends, flexing his now comfortable lifestyle, and mouthing along to lyrics such as, “I keep forgetting I’m famous,” and “I’mma still be me ‘til the end / I’mma do what I do / I ain’t sh*t to prove.” As Harry has put out more music, he’s seen more success. But one thing’s for sure; he’ll never stray from the person he’s always been. These themes tie in fittingly with later tracks on the album, and evidently, the release as a whole was well thought-out and designed to piece together a few main core narratives.
Young Harry ponders his past and sense of identity in For Harry, with lyrics such as, “Don’t feel Korean / I don’t feel American / Won’t you point me where I belong to?”. It’s a common dilemma for those who come from complex backgrounds. But it’s apparent that Harry finds his solidity and a true sense of self in his music: ‘’Cause I know who I am”.
In Through The Storm, the opening track of the album, Harry summarises the message of the 37-minute album quite simply: “When it rains you gotta see through the storm.” He’s been through it all; he’s loved and lost, felt the pains of youth and growing up rough, and he’s turned around and made it all into something beautiful and true to himself. It’s the pinnacle of art: to turn pain into beauty. And still, at such a young age, the only way is up for Young Harry.
Written by Maddie Armstrong
MV © Young Harry
Featured image © Young Harry
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