Last year, Yung Lean delivered Stranger, an album many call his strongest body of work thus far. Now, the twenty-two-year-old Swedish rapper has returned with his follow-up effort Poison Ivy, complete with a jarring yellow album cover. Where Stranger seemed to conjure imagery of folkloric, off-kilter fairy-tales, Poison Ivy strikes a different tone off the bat. It's clear that Lean looked to the past during the creation stages, drawing from the hip-hop-centric origin of his "Sadboy" movement.
That's not to say the experimentation phase is gone. Lean still retains clever melodic sensibilities, and a willingness to apply musical ideas Western-bred rappers would likely balk at. Those appreciative of Lean's laid-back, deadpan delivery will find much to soak in here, as the rapper is in fine form throughout Poison Ivy's brief eight-track runtime. Frequent fantastical influences juxtaposed with exaggerated flex ideology remain part of Lean's bread and butter. Case in point, standout selection "Sauron" mentions a Gucci headband within the opening stanzas, before Lean likens himself to Middle Earth's notorious dark lord.
If you're not on board yet, Poison Ivy may not bring the conversion you seek. Yet for Leandoer fans, it's a welcome addition to the catalog. At 22, he remains one of the most innovative and imaginative voices in hip-hop. Are you feeling this?