YGTUT Keeps the Southern Soundscape Alive with new Album, IOU
Evan Dale // Jan 18, 2019
Something in the rawness of true Southern hip-hop calls for reminiscing on a series of chapters come and gone. The Geto Boys and UGK, Outcast and Pimp C, Three 6 Mafia and Juvenile, T.I. and Lil Wayne. And though a barrage of artists today have brought there sounds to the mainstream from the geographically Southern subset, artists like Future, 21 Savage, J Cole, Travis Scott, and Young Thug are altogether lacking a certain – let’s call it country grammar – that has long defined the Southern soundscape. It’s not to say that soundscape doesn’t still exist. More underground artists like Birmingham’s Pink Siifu, Atlanta’s EARTHGANG, and the entirety of the Chattanooga scene create within a realm much more parallel to Southern hip-hop’s illustrious past than most of the mainstream Southern artists of the now. The game has been split, a vacuum exists, and nostalgic Southern hip-hop hangs in the balance of the mainstream memory. Thankfully, there are many bright spots on the come up.
None brighter than Chattanooga’s YGTUT.
Breaking ground in 2015 with what has since become an international cult classic, Preacher’s Son – a debut album that featured friend and fellow young Chattanooga rapper, Isaiah Rashad, YGTUT has been hustling ever since. Rashad has gone on to release a series of projects and become signed by TDE, helping to pave the way for YGTUT amongst others like Bby Mutha, Shoey, and Michal da Vinci. In recent years especially, the Chattanooga school has ramped it up. Bby Mutha releases a steady stream of fervent mixtapes, a 2017 collaborative project, Four Two Three provided a number of Southern anthems, and YGTUT himself has dropped a wide collection of singles, 2018’s EP Save It, and now a 2019 album, IOU, molding him into the next leader of the classically Southern sound.
IOU is his thesis. Undeniably hard-hitting bass and bouncy Southern production provide the backdrop for YGTUT to do what he does best, doubling as a talented rapper and entertaining choral vocalist. Certainly highlighted by IOU’s two leading singles, Get It and Mind Ya Business, the rest of the project has no trouble living up to the height of its early expectation. Coming in at only seven tracks, there is no wasted space and TUT makes the most of it all.
There are few rappers in music today with a more obvious knack for lyricism, and with a bold delivery defined by YGTUT’s unique accent and bouncy flow, that songwriting ability comes to the forefront of everything he does. Through the seven tracks, he relentlessly attacks every beat, leaving his mark and providing a blueprint for the future of particularly anthemic Southern hip-hop. That being said, the word anthemic can sometimes leave a bad taste in a listener’s mouth. It should be noted that anthemic as YGTUT’s tracks may be, and as undeniably high-energy all of IOU’s bangers are, there is nothing lost in their depth. TUT’s unique approach to lyricism brings Southern hip-hop into modernity and is the exact reason why classic Southern hip-hop, in the hands of lyricists like him, is making such an explosive comeback.
For any fans of the history of Southern hip-hop, or hip-hop in general which has very much been directed by the uniqueness and innovation of the Southern soundscape, YGTUT with the aid of the wide-ranging, anthemic, and lyrically profound IOU is a beacon not to be taken lightly. And IOU is an early front-runner for the most important hip-hop project of 2019.