In today’s exclusive, writer Aurelli Lazuardi reviews YASAI, a Singapore-borne group. The boys are craftsmen of music and mergers in genre, style and concept, and we can’t wait to hear more from them. Edited by founding ed. Athena. Photography/Collage by YASAI.
YASAI’s latest EP- White Walls: Strings of Another, is an EP to get lost in. They have successfully produced an EP curated to the teens of our current generation. YASAI uses this opportunity to address the many issues and struggles that the youth of today face on a daily basis. It’s filled with thought provoking and personal lyrics that shine a light on complex relationships, discrimination and self-identity.
By Irfan of YASAI
The YASAI boys are made up of 8 former polytechnic students who continue to take on Singapore’s rap community with the release of their ever-evolving music. Founded in 2017, the 8-strong crew consists of self-motivated young men who go by the name of KingKaung, CZN, TY Bling, EnYa, H, Young An, Yung $wiss and Finn.
The first thing I noticed about them was their diversity in talent; they are not solely a group of musical artists, but a collective consisting of rappers, producers, singers, directors and designers. They were brought together by the passion they shared in music and their desire to create something more than just beats and lyrics.
We were interested to know what drove their passion for music, especially in this day and age where the market is saturated with producers and artistes. “I would say our supporters and each other”, the co-leader, SIT begins. “All 8 of us have some form of background in music and the fact that we have the same level of drive for it really pushes one another to do our best. At the same time we have gathered a dedicated following whom we love dearly and for them, we want to give then things to look forward and vibe to.”
After listening to Strings of Another, I realised one thing about YASAI: They aren’t defined by a genre. Keen to experiment with their music, their songs waver in sound and substance ranging from hip-hop, trap and alternative rap. They incorporate lo-fi beats and acoustic instruments to complete their sound, making their music unique and expressive.
Seeing that their music is wielded by each of their own hands and voices, I ask them what the most important aspect to consider when creating their music. “The most important aspect would be the feeling when creating music.
Like what do we want the audiences to feel when they listen to our song. If it is a heartbreak song, we got to make sure the audience feel the emotions during a heartbreak and, like, maybe think about their ex? Or if it’s a party anthem, then the listeners would feel hyped up and just jump around and dance.”
With Strings of Another, they reach out to the adolescent mindset, “We want them to relate to our songs and to feel them on a personal level because our audiences are about the same age as us, so they probably had gone through the same struggles as us.”- they reply in an interview- And that is exactly what they do with Strings of Another. It’s filled with songs about social interactions, relationships and complex emotions that the youth of today face.
Their opening track, JDM Love, feels like the perfect soundtrack for your summer; filled with upbeat optimism and bright rhythms, it takes you back to the days of carefree romance and hopeful love. One of their most significant lyrics could be found on their 3rd track, ‘Atlas’: “Everything I’ve seen and heard, I just gotta’ translate / I feel like I’m on another fucking planet / ‘Cause I ain’t never seen a brother from the same blood”. The phrase discusses the pains and struggles that one goes through when facing prejudice and racism. By combining the personal lyrics with the despondent jazz of the piano and the rough vocals, they truly capture the authenticity and raw emotion people feel when dealing with unfair discrimination and loneliness.
They’re young, brilliant and burning with the thought of making waves in society. We’re glad that we share the same island home in Singapore, but a group like them–with diversity in skillsets, voice and perspective–we need to know where they’d like to go to next. “The ideal tour would be a World Tour, but realistically, we want to achieve a South East Asian Tour first like Malaysia, Phillipines, Thailand”. Talk about regional powerhouses! We can’t wait to hear more from them.