Getting To Know The Gifted Artist YK
Allow us to bring to you the gems of rap and afrobeats from Sudan’s finest, New York born and UK-based artist YK.
Since stepping into the music game over 10 years ago, YK has shown the world that Sudanese talent does not come to play. Let’s take a look through the Lovin’ lens and explore the world of the gifted ‘Bema’ artist.
LOVE OF MUSIC
Great talent doesn’t come easy, it takes practice, perseverance and patience. YK knows that to be a great artist, you have to be a great listener, too. He makes it easy for his fans to listen to his music by constantly keeping the anticipation high. With YK’s love for different genres and voice that seamlessly integrates into different beats, we constantly see him embrace different music styles and always look forward to seeing what masterpiece he releases next.
@YKO_1's Pressure will forever be one of my favorite projects . . Such a great album 💯 🙌🏾
— | OB | (@Mo_Obeid) August 3, 2022
We weren’t surprised to learn that YK’s first album ‘Self Destruct’ quickly reeled most fans into a pledge of allegiance, preparing him for their overwhelming admiration for his single ‘Right Now’ in 2019. The single was a seemingly effortless yet perfect attempt at one of the UK’s most popular and favoured hip-hop/rap sounds, used by artists such as B Young, J Hus and Ramz. It stands as an incredible example to demonstrate how smoothly YK has integrated into the UK music and rap scene while maintaining his own personal sound and style.
Luring fans into his 2020 album ‘Pressure’, GRM Daily released the music video for ‘Money Machine’ a week ahead of the album’s release. Just as we thought the album couldn’t possibly get better than that, we were gifted tracks such as ‘Thriller’, ‘So Realer’ and ‘Fyre’. It was quickly understood that YK came to play absolutely no games.
BREATH OF FRESH AIR
Having lived outside of Sudan for quite some time, fans wonder how YK manages to incorporate Sudanese heritage and culture into his music while making it sound as captivating as it does. For him, going to Sudan alone is always a breath of fresh air.
As soon as you land home you feel freedom, joy, you’re reconnecting and re-kindling with family members. Anytime you go to Sudan you do come back inspired, motivated to grind and work harder and do more.
Like Sudanis and foreigners alike, YK considers Nile Street the perfect place to unwind with a refreshing cup of tea, great company and a sense of rejuvenation. The perfect stimulus he needs to keep creating a musical safehaven for his fans!
MUSIC FROM THE HOMELAND
Over the past few years we’ve seen phenomenal collaborations between YK and other Sudanese artists. Drawing inspiration from the homeland, singles such as ‘Bema’ and ‘Gombula’ featuring Maman showed YK’s transition to afrobeats, where he brought along the easily recognisable sounds of Sudanese slang.
Though choosing favourites is hard, YK told Lovin’ of his admiration for Mohammed Al-Amin, a renowned pillar of Sudanese music, whose fans all over the world are currently mourning over. Al-Amin was one of the many musicians who were either exiled, imprisoned or barred from public life after the military coup of 1989. His song ‘Raji’ Al Balad invokes familiarity in the feelings of love and belonging he displays, despite the distance between him and his homeland.
YK’s appreciation for Sudanese music doesn’t end in the 60s and 70s. The surge of artists in Sudan has increased by a weightload, and we’re not the only ones who’ve spotted it. We’ve seen incredibly talented up-and-coming artists emerging from Sudan, and YK saw it too:
“Hearing Sudanese artists come out of Sudan – this was years ago – one of the first songs I actually heard was Rotation’s, and I think he’s dope. When I heard this I was like, this is coming straight from Omdurman? That’s my hometown!”
Seeing YK in the studio as he collaborated with Eaz da Bully and Aidyproof, it became clear that his love for working with other artists came naturally to him, including the talented Sudanese group The C!rcle, who he considers family. But collaborating with Sudanese artists didn’t happen out of favours, YK tells us:
There’s a lot of Sudanese artists I’ve worked with, the only reason I’ve worked with them – and it’s probably vice versa as well – is because we inspire each other. There’s been a lot of inspiration from each and every one of them.”
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Through the turbulent times and many months of war in Sudan, people yearn for something relatable to comfort the overwhelming absence of a sense of home. In the several countries across the world that Sudanese communities have fled to, people refresh their phones everyday and await news about our beloved country. Just as YK told us, a lot of people have struggled and a lot of people go to music for comfort.
Are you looking forward to hearing a harmony about home from him? Let him know, don’t be shy!
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