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by Yung Lean

Released May 15, 2020 via YEAR0001

Reviewed May 26, 2020

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Boylife in EU (30%), Pikachu (28%), Yayo (24%)

Still just 24, Yung Lean continues to mature significantly as an artist. The abstract, sometimes nonsensical bars — an almost signature trait of his — are still present on the straight-to-point bangers, but the rapper shows plenty of introspection and vulnerability on Starz as well. Poignant, sorrowful, and reflective, Yung Lean gets real about everything from his opioid usage to his come-up on the more emotionally heavy cuts. And the dreamy, hazy, and diverse collection of beats that Whitearmor creates for Lean is entrancing at every turn. – Dominick (8/10)

Yung Lean’s latest project is a beautiful showcasing of the cloud rap aesthetics he helped popularize throughout the past decade. The production has a consistently pillowy nature, even when the album becomes more brooding and eerie. With this atmosphere, Starz establishes a unique world for you to get lost in with Lean. The beats lead to some of his best vocal and lyrical performances thus far, allowing him to approach each track with an array of styles. He seems to have found a great mix of his boy-like delivery and his usual monotone vocals, leading to one of his most diverse and consistent releases to date. – Enth (8/10)

Leandoer has shaped much of hip-hop’s current trends and is a key trailblazer for cloud rap. Despite this, his releases tend to be slightly disappointing. The aesthetic and the idea of “Yung Lean” has always felt much larger and more prolific than the music itself. Starz is the first instance where it feels like his full artistic vision has come to fruition. Worlds of pillowy production are molded into complex instrumentals that—while godlike and ever present—can be distorted like a forgotten memory in the corner of your mind. Whitearmor provides a set of beats that are some of the best Lean has ever graced, and the rapper/singer made sure to bring his A-game. One of the biggest things about Lean has always been his voice and how he uses it as an instrument, something he does better than ever here. His droning boyish vocals combined with the vocal fry really compliment the cloudy nature of the full project. Though there’s still a few songs on here that are lacking, Starz is the best complete presentation to date from a legend of the current era of music. – Jared (8/10)

Hadley: 8.5/10 | Cam: 8/10 | Dominick: 8/10 | Jared: 8/10 | Enth: 7/10


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