“Don’t rush the art”: an interview with the father
Picture via Calvin Schneider
Embarking on a sequel in the music industry, against a backdrop of general tiredness for the second acts, is not for the faint-hearted. Forgive the cynicism. But now there’s a sinking feeling that comes when you see the number “2” next to the title of a beloved album or movie. No one understands this better than Father. The Atlanta rapper has made it clear that he doesn’t perform a single move in his career unless he truly believes the situation calls for it. You’re not going to force it into a corner. From starting Awful Records, creating space for other musical anarchists like Playboi Carti and Abra, to disbanding the label and its partnership with RCA Records in 2020 after the adventure ended, he only makes the decisions he wants when the time is right. Even though on the surface, his raps on projects like bad swimming and Husband are filled with loud, luscious lines that make the unsuspecting listener question their commitment to the practice, they promise that their decisions are calculated and measured. It’s like he’s been planning every word, every word and every direction he’s been going in for years.
Release Young hot ebony 2 in June – eight years after dropping his first installment – is no different from Father’s previous picks. Meticulously planned and forged with a patient hand, the purposeful sequel comes to a unique point in his evolution as an artist. Until its release in 2018 bad swimming, Father fused searing, shocking raps with a mumbling stream shrouded in an air of unease, making it seem like listing his debauchery was second nature to him. Then, he embarked on a new era marked by experimentations in fusing borderline soul crooning with his lyrical clarity to form mutated melodies to back up his raps. Songs like “Joestar” off Husband and “Backbreaker” from its 2020 release Come outside, we didn’t go and fuck you register more like electronic lullaby ballads than the brash bangers that came before them.
Young hot ebony 2 comes at the perfect time for Father. It’s an album he’s been trying to make since 2018. But not every project felt like a spiritual successor to his 2014 mixtape. Whether it was the sonic direction it was in or the presence of unknown collaborators, it was not in the cards. Now Father is in full control and is returning to his roots of his own volition, armed with new bells and whistles. Producing and mixing the entire album, as well as maintaining its roster of collaborators mostly with familiar faces like Zach Fox, Meltycannon and Archibald Slim, Young hot ebony 2 really feels like a continuation. It’s not a revival, it’s a rebirth. The church organs and choir sample on “Let’s Kick His Ass!” juxtapose beautifully with the burlesque violence that colors the bars of Father. The electronic screams and piano trills on “What won’t he do?” return to the deliciously macabre sounds of its early days, with dark, serious raps to match. “Father, it’s too dope ‘Nigga, you’re full of veins / I put ten toes on slow souls sold for my gains,’ he raps, lazily spouting menacing tales of threats and violence without care about the world.
It feels like a throwback to days of yore for Father, but this time he comes with new experiences and artistic skills that surpass the quality of the original. It is on a delicate tightrope that he walks. How do you make a new project capture the spirit of the past, without registering as tired or uninspired? The fear that he sullies the memory of his predecessor is omnipresent. I spoke with Father about successfully creating a sequel that isn’t a soulless cash grab, which pushed him to the point where he finally got to do this Young hot ebony 2and how to reconcile the expectations of releasing music with the idea of self-preservation of one’s sanity. – Matthew Ritchie