Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Young Chris: Never Die

In the early 2000s Roc-A-Fella Records stood as a powerhouse on the hip hop scene. While already popular and respected Jay-Z was just starting to rule hip hop with an iron fist by consistently dropping outstanding material each year. Damon Dash was seen as a modern day Berry Gordy with his somehow charismatic yet obnoxious personality and excellent business mind. Young producers Just Blaze and Kanye West carefully crafted the soulful soundtrack that would become synonymous with Roc's sound and eventually hip hop in general. The record companies' roster was choked full of immense talent including a hardcore rap duo and State Property affiliates from Philly named Young Gunz, which included the MCs Neef Buck and Young Chris. Although the group enjoyed some success with their Gold selling album "Tough Luv" and a radio hit with "Can’t Stop Won't Stop", the emotional rhyme spitters never truly achieved the attention they deserved. Dame and Jay eventually split and Young Gunz decided to stay with Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella records. However, through several false starts and a lackluster second release "Brothers from Another", the group's popularity waned in the mainstream and the powerhouse that is Roc-A-Fella eventually rested on shoulders of the headliners Jay-Z and Kanye. Young Chris now finds himself as a solo artist still signed to Roc-A-Fella as he readies a new album which is sure to be a stark and emotional account of the last few years. The new street single and video "Never Die" is an excellent example of how Chris' Jay-Z-inspired flow and street tales culminate into an authentic street narrative. Using a soul sample (same sample as Rick Ross' "Maybach Music", with a driving bass line complete with moaning, haunting vocals over the chorus, Chris attempts to claw his way back into the listeners' consciousness.

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