Linafornia

YUNG

9
9 out of 10
Brandon Backhaus | February 16, 2016

Beat tapes. That’s just a sentence unto itself. Linafornia, from Los Angeles, has created YUNG. YUNG is a beat tape. It is meant to invoke the herky jerky head nods of night spent enveloped by heavy sound. It’s the kind of thing you can’t really explain to a person just out for a night on the town. It’s a kind of religion, a kind of devotion. It's akin to taking an egg beater to the soul and liking it. 

To make a beat tape, it takes the kind of intuition that makes musicians, like the real ones that went to college and hear pitch changes on the fly, cringe. There are no charts. There are no notes. No complex theories. What there is, is a beat tape. It is wet with satire like a high-five between Funkmaster Flex and Ronald Reagan, like thanks for the crippling economic depression and institutionally-square pizza, holmes. Linafornia’s YUNG takes me away to a special place where none of that matters. Where the night can be home. And the night never ever once gave a shit about degrees. It’s a cold world. 

Linafornia, like her namesake state, brings the sun. It's an invitational into the life of a woman who was once a girl and is now in the process of ascending, god. Linafornia’s name has appeared on flier after flier, proof that locally she puts in the work. She’s recognized around Los Angeles as a force of neck-whipping nature. Her sonic whirlwind physically emerging from her fingertips to propel her braids and our faces to the heavens. I was blown away by Lina’s energy on stage. The music was hooky and glitchy and disjointed in the best way I could mean that. I rarely dance. Almost never in public. I’m just a self-conscious mother fucker. But when I happened to emerge from the crowd on a mission to figure out what the fuck was going on, it was as if the seas parted and I was confronted by YUNG and the force that is Linafornia. And now we cool. 

Linafornia has been on a journey recently. She’s the darling of Beat Cinema. I’ve watched her absolutely destroy rooms at Shambhala. I hate myself for missing her right in my own part of this here megalopolis when she played at Poobah records in Pasadena. She killed at Bananas. She’s been anointed by the gods of Low End Theory. I feel like YUNG is supposed to take us on a journey too. At the end of the record I perked up, like, “How did I get here? How did all this happen? Who the fuck? What the fuck? But doooooooooooope!”

Each track seems chosen to let energy rise and fall like breathing. From the intro to the absolutely intoxicating “brownies,” we rise as waves in a swell. “brownies” is the crest. The moment where the whole view presents itself in a moment of epiphanic joy before crashing back into itself as the almost meditative, “nagchampa”. By “wettt,” it’s almost like Linafornia couldn’t contain herself anymore and decided to give the pot a stir to get the juices flowing. “wrdfrmjazzoh [the oracle]” sprankles a little truth into the stew just before the hilarious Devi Wonder give us them vantage point raps, “I got 20s, I got 50s, I got 100s now!” 

I hate track by track reviews so I’ll stop because you guys are fucking smart and you get the point. Linafornia is squarely in the driver seat with YUNG. It has all the feel of being hip and choppy and slappy and head noddy and glitchy and dope, but it also has a heart (really fucking rare for a beat tape), exhibiting innocence and heart and care and adoration for our artform. You can tell this is Lina’s baby. And she loved making it even more than I loved bumping it, and I loved bumping it so much I woke up this morning and wrote this, with the funk breath to prove it, sitting hunched in my kitchen in my underwear after shoving last nights dessert into my kids’ mouths for breakfast and furiously typing because I couldn’t wait to tell you. 

Lina gotchu all in check. YA YA YAAAAAA!!! YA, YA!