Essentials: ytboutthataction Continues to Spread Her Wings on “love & vex”
A clever, talented and unorthodox rapper and singer who doesn’t care for creative boxes and doesn’t need an invitation to talk her shit.
●24th April 2023
There’s a palpable liberty that drives ytboutthataction’s music; it’s intrinsic, flowing through her incredibly relatable bars down to her beat choices. This sense of emancipation which permeates every corner of her artistry is aptly captured on “Pill Head”, a scathing rap record which practically serves as an avatar for what ytbouthataction is all about. The melodic single, which preceded 2021’s It’s Not Me, It’s You, is powered by an uncompromising forthrightness as much as deafening 808s. It’s directed at her nosy aunties who constantly give unsolicited advice and bully her. “I don’t give a fuck if you find my titties offensive / But riddle me this / How in the fuck y’all tryna give me advice? / Y’all don’t even live a life I strive to have” she raps charismatically, and those are not even the most frank bars on the record. This cocktail of honesty, the desire to be free, to be different, is what makes yt’s music most resonating.
Her latest tape love & vex, which comes almost two years after her last project, builds on her insistence to spread her wings creatively, rapping and singing in some of the most inventive ways you’ll hear around. The project opens with yt basically talking her shit: “Soon as I seen the assignment, I knew i would ace the shit / I think you need an alignment, stand up when you’re talking to me” she raps on “ME!” over sinister synths and thumping drums. For the uninitiated, listening to yt might be slightly confusing, jarring even; her approach is usually unorthodox. In a 2021 interview, she revealed that Sahbabii and Young Thug are two of her biggest influences and it’s pretty evident in quirky beat selections and song concepts that might initially seem odd but are ultimately brilliant. Take the pre-released “the last airbender” for example where she cleverly processes a failed relationship with witty avatar references: “I was the Last Airbender, call me Avatar / Cuz you aired me ten times, you took that shit too far / You’re like Zuko and I’m coming in like Uncle Iroh / I thought your father told you not to play with fire.”
Liberation, more often that not, is never gifted; it has to be fought for or taken, by force. On some occasions, even when this freedom has been won, you still have to guard it, fiercely, that’s why yt understandably sounds apprehensive half the time. “I don’t care about your life why you dey give me advice? / I no dey send for you, why you dey eye my tattoo?” she raps on “yanning” alongside DJ-cum-singer femoski. She’s shown a desire from the jump to be free to do things the way she deems fit, musically and otherwise, and truth be told, that’s a herculean task within these parts, especially as a woman, but yt seems determined, resolute in her intent and desire. So she’s got the smoke for anyone — her busybody aunties are clearly not exempt — who tries to tell her how to run her life of her business: “ I don’t play, I am not jonzing / The next person I catch talking / You go see me for your papa house, running / Everybody always talking crazy.”
“cool story bro”, the project’s centerpiece is a melodic hustler’s anthem. “Like someone who sees a doctor, just be calm and be patient please” she raps on the song’s opening seconds, a synonym for the popular “this life na turn by turn” saying. She reinforces this notion as she sings “Duro, duro, duro, duro, don’t stop now / Duro, duro, duro, duro, your time go come now” on the hypnotic hook. While the message here is cogent, the track works mostly because of yt’s carefree delivery and inventiveness. She employs a playful sing-rap style that allows her to bounce on Kenzee’s drums while also infusing a catchy native playground rhyme at the tail-end of the song. It’s a little zany, outlandish even, but it’s completely yt.
love & vex ends with hydrogen bond, an endearing love song where yt expresses her feelings once again in the most yt way possible: “you gorgeous, you foxy, and you tick all my muh’fucking boxes / love the smell of your boxers”. It’s the type of line to make you stop in your tracks, wondering where that came from; even yt acknowledges “the things I say out of pocket”. But listening to ytboutthataction and you can tell she clearly has no intentions of embracing conformity, she’s assured in what she is: a clever, talented and unorthodox rapper and singer who doesn’t care for creative boxes and doesn’t need an invitation to talk her shit.