Sometimes the old adages still apply. In particular, the saying that “you can’t judge a book by its cover” continues to resonant through the centuries. I was recently reminded of this fact when I was fortunate enough to come across Young Lit Hippy’s new single “Superman” and decided to go against my knee jerk reaction of dismissing it as some mumble rap madness that I’m not really trying to hear right now.
Once I pressed play on the single, I found myself nodding along to a very expressive, mid-tempo hip-hop spark that was completely constructed by the enterprising Portland artist. On the cool-out single, Young Lit cautiously tests the waters of his growing success and finds himself holding even tighter to what keeps him grounded as a person. Showing a musical aesthetic that’s more in line with a performer like Rapsody than it is with someone like Young Bans, Young Lit Hippy showcases magnetic relatability on “Superman”. He avoids getting wrapped up in an overly self-loving (or self-loathing) mire on the aspiring anthem. And the production is a stripped-down combination of chunky, SP-1200 styled drums, some ghostly keys that phase in and out of focus, and an occasional jazz-flute scale.
A recurring theme of "Superman" is YLH's desire to see through the facade and expectations of others with superhuman clarity. In his own words, he explains " 'Superman' is about having an open mind to seeing the true reality instead of your own personal reality. People, especially in my genre of music, are pressured to be flashy. In the song I explain, they’re telling me to wear this, I should get that... but in my heart I feel that’s not my desire so why should I do it?"
Those are some wise words indeed, which not only apply to a young rap artist on the rise but also to an "old head" rap critique looking to keep his love affair with the ever-changing genre alive and thriving.
"Superman" is available now on all streaming services.