16 Songs, 45 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

YoungBoy Never Broke Again’s 4Respect 4Freedom 4Loyalty 4WhatImportant was teased to fans over the course of three EPs, each four-song pack intended to represent a specific theme. All of the songs from those, plus four that were unavailable previously, come together to form a long-playing manifesto of the Baton Rouge rapper’s most current focus. While the 4 Respect and 4 Freedom EPs were presented as collaborative showcases with Baton Rouge OG Kevin Gates and Savannah’s Quando Rondo, respectively, YoungBoy has plenty to say for himself across the album. Opening track “Dropout” is gleefully aggro and a step away from the cathartic and soul-baring hymns that have become the rapper’s signature. The pain is ever-present, however, with YoungBoy addressing the public’s judgment of his legal woes on “Can’t Be Saved” and rebuking rap punditry altogether over a classic Isaac Hayes sample on “I Am Who They Say I Am.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

YoungBoy Never Broke Again’s 4Respect 4Freedom 4Loyalty 4WhatImportant was teased to fans over the course of three EPs, each four-song pack intended to represent a specific theme. All of the songs from those, plus four that were unavailable previously, come together to form a long-playing manifesto of the Baton Rouge rapper’s most current focus. While the 4 Respect and 4 Freedom EPs were presented as collaborative showcases with Baton Rouge OG Kevin Gates and Savannah’s Quando Rondo, respectively, YoungBoy has plenty to say for himself across the album. Opening track “Dropout” is gleefully aggro and a step away from the cathartic and soul-baring hymns that have become the rapper’s signature. The pain is ever-present, however, with YoungBoy addressing the public’s judgment of his legal woes on “Can’t Be Saved” and rebuking rap punditry altogether over a classic Isaac Hayes sample on “I Am Who They Say I Am.”

TITLE TIME

About YoungBoy Never Broke Again

Raised by his grandmother in Baton Rogue, Louisiana, YoungBoy Never Broke Again (born Kentrell DeSean Gaulden in 1999) started recording with a Walmart-bought microphone as a teenager, writing tracks for his early mixtapes while in juvenile detention. It’s a path that would continue to cast shadows on his career. After a flurry of increasingly strong mixtapes (most notably 2017's AI YoungBoy), Gaulden made his major-label leap with 2018’s Until Death Call My Name, only to be derailed by further arrests. He bounced back later in the year with a string of similarly titled EPs (4Respect, 4Loyalty, 4Freedom, 4WhatImportant) that continued to chart his sound, featuring collaborations with Young Thug and Kevin Gates. Aggressive but soulful, Gaulden’s music feels like a natural step in the evolution of Louisiana hip-hop, echoing both Boosie Badazz (a collaborator) and Gates (who went so far as to get a tattoo of Gaulden’s face) as well as the serious, sing-song-y feel of classic Cash Money. Speaking to The FADER in 2017, Gaulden described the pressure he felt to succeed—for his family and for himself. “I can see, I can hear, I can smell, I can speak, I can touch,” he said. “Ain’t no excuses.”

HOMETOWN
Baton Rouge, LA
BORN
1999

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