Rapper Yung Lean’s “Stranger” shows progression, catered for dedicated fans


Charlie Zediker, Staff Writer

Yung Lean, alias for Jonatan Leandoer Håstad, recently released his third full-length album, “Stranger,” on Nov. 10. Unlike his previous 2016 release, “Warlord,” the Swedish rapper’s new project is much more polished and showcases undeniable progression in the young artist’s style. Although the album uses amazing soundscapes and caters to the ‘Sad Boy’ aesthetic many dedicated listeners crave due to his participation in the Sad Boys rap group, it tends to fall into a rut of depressing mumble rap. Despite this, though, “Stranger” is worth a listen.

Surprisingly, the album was completely done by Håstad; there are no features and most of the production was done by his aforementioned rap group, Sad Boys, consisting of Yung Gud, Yung Sherman and White Armour. This truly shows how talented, creative and  progressive Håstad truly is.

The entirety of “Stranger” is filled with beautifully produced tracks filled with dark synths and massive soundscapes that really draw the audience in. All the way from the first track, “Muddy Sea,” which features a poppy, alternative beat mixed with Håstad’s monotone style of rapping, to “Yellowman,” which contains the same elements but also implements other interesting additions such as an echoing vocal track and an orchestral synth, the album never fails to entice the listener. It does, however, end up all sounding pretty similar, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Probably the most notable tracks on the album are “Red Bottom Sky” and “Hunting My Own Skin.” “Red Bottom Sky” features an addictive backbeat with the classic monotone, nonsense lyrics that Håstad is known for. “Hunting My Own Skin” is akin to the trap style of hip-hop, but once again, Håstad leaves his mark on it and turns it into something he can call his own. “Yellowman” is also another notable track on the album; it again shows the abilities of the rapper and his production skills as well.

Overall, “Stranger” was a success, and Håstad is thankfully showing progression from his previous works. The album does, however, fall short in terms of listenability. This project is catered to fans of Håstad who appreciate his style of rapping—mumble rap or “Sad Boy” rap, named after his rap group. Although it might not be for every listener, it is still an interesting, creative and original album.