Fifty Fifty, Passed

Fifty Session ⎮ Yong Yello – Gaidaa

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Fifty Fifty, Passed

Yong Yello :

Until recently, Yello Staelens existed mostly in small print on record sleeves. As a beat supplier of Tourist LeMC, for example. Or as creative sparring partner of Glints. As a composer and producer he is also responsible for the solo success of Noémie Wolfs. Really nice references. But at the same time he felt the need to tell his own story. In his own language. With his own words. Last year’s brilliant debut single ‘Als Ge Slaapt’ already gave an idea of what that would sound like, and ‘Waanzin’ – the precursor to the first full-length album – confirms it: Yong Yello has something to tell. And let it be immediately clear that he is not the man to hide the truth. On the contrary: Yello tells it like it is, sparing neither himself nor the people around him.

No, this is not a party record, but you can have fun with it. Because in addition to being an extraordinary visual storyteller, Yong Yello shows himself to be an exceptional composer. You can hear that in the meticulous precision with which each melody falls into just the right fold. To call this simply hip hop would be to understate the songs. Because there’s also funk in it. Pure pop, too. And even a sigh of jazz. What’s more, it’s been a long time since we’ve heard a record where there are so many potential singles to choose from. Marcel en het magnetisme van de goot is a world record in a world language; Antwerp dialect. Yong Yello has taken his time for this. But the result is commensurate. He’d better get used to the fact that his name will appear in slightly larger letters on the cover from now on.

Gaidaa : 

Netherlands-based Sudanese singer and songwriter Gaidaa accesses soul in its purest form through organic R&B punctuated by acoustic instrumentation and lyrics laced with raw vulnerability. Putting up over 1 million streams independently and garnering support from COLORS, The FADER, Schön! Magazine, and more, the rising songstress holds nothing back on her 2020 debut EP, Overture. Growing up between The Netherlands and Sudan, she immediately gravitated towards music as a way to do just that. Her father performed in a popular Sudanese group, which she describes as “some kind of Sudanese political One Direction”. At the same time, she discovered the likes of Lauryn Hill and India Arie and picked up some instruments. She taught herself how to play piano and praticed on a three-string guitar, while also diligently honing her vocals and posting covers to social media. In 2017, Gaidaa’s Kehlani cover caught the attention of producer Full Crate. Together, they cooked up “A Storm On A Summer’s Day”, which amassed nearly 7 million total streams to date. Leaving University, she dove headfirst into music and soon after in 2019, COLORS invited her to record “Morning Blue” at their studio as part of a bigger project shedding light on the political/social climate in Sudan. The title references the #BlueForSudan campaign, encouraging social media users to change their profile pictures to blue in solidarity with Sudan and in honor of a protesting victim who favored the color steel blue. On its heels, “I Like Trouble” quickly crossed 100K Spotify streams as The Fader dubbed it a “Trojan Horse for disobedience”. Along the way, she started assembling her latest project Overture. She heralds the project with the first single “Falling Higher”. A steady beat simmers as her voice stretches from laidback verses into a falsetto-driven hook. The track illuminates the scope of her scorching signature style. In the end, Gaidaa’s soul shines on Overture.

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