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Yung Lean (feat. FKA twigs), 'Bliss'

Yung Lean has never been afraid to experiment. You don't become a widely-acknowledged trailblazer of what's come to be known as "cloud rap" by playing it safe, but "Bliss" finds him taking on a new genre he's barely touched before: post-punk. Perhaps in making a conscious effort to separate his sound from the lighter, esoteric side of the drainer aesthetic (see: Bladee), Lean goes full Joy Division by rapping over a brooding, fuzzy guitar line with the tonality of a Swedish Ian Curtis.

Stardust, out today,isYung Lean's first full-length project since 2020's Starz. The two records are similar in more than just name, with both heavily featuring the layered, songwriting-forward haziness Lean has adopted in recent years. When it comes to "Bliss," though, the pivot to doomer groove is what makes the song so surprising: It's like if you fused together Molchat Doma with Crystal Castles and Yves Tumor, aided by FKA twigs doing her best electroclash impression. The combination is nuanced and, honestly, quite cool — never in my life did I think I would hear twigs and Lean doing a cold wave track — reaffirming Lean's status as one of the most creative and post-genre rappers making music today.

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Reanna Cruz
Reanna Cruz is a news assistant for NPR Music's Alt.Latino.
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