Adelaide rapper Ayrton Young's new EP, 'Gospel For The Lost', is a passion project he hopes will empower listeners to forge better pathways and espouse a positive outlook.A hip hop-gospel artist, when he's not creating music Young is a Sunday kids leader and a youth leader on Friday nights at Futures Church.
Born in the Soccsksargen region of the Philippines, Young migrated with his family to South Australia as a child, where his love of breakdancing was fostered and led him to first pursue hip hop production before focusing on rapping and performance.
With rhymes and melodies about God, diaspora, death, and the ever-human plight of love, 'Gospel For The Lost' features choirs, an orchestra portion, and a spoken word section, as well as energetic harmonies.
The EP's first track is titled 'Open Heaven'. An eerie, ominous, brooding beat intros the song, before a call and response between Young's heavenly, elegant vocals and a raucous chorus of muscular, burly male voices adds a chocolate and salt quality, the opposing tones fusing to create a rich, flavoursome melody.
As the song progresses, Young showcases his own vocal prowess, providing a more aggressive approach to his raps, the passion and spirit embodied bringing a tangible energy to his flow.
The modern-sounding 808-inspired drum beat also intensifies throughout, creating a gritty, gloomy soundscape that is spotlighted by Young's voice that acts as a beacon of hope for those battling everyday dreariness.
"High energy chants, playful punchlines, and an otherworldly beat switch, this song was meant to set the tone for the whole EP, the lightning before the thunder," shares Ayrton.
Ahead of the EP's release on Monday (30 October), scenestr is pumped to premiere 'Open Heaven' today. Enjoy.
"The EP really is for the kids," adds Ayrton. "I made it in such a way where it sounds like it's from the streets but with a message from the Church.
"It's dark, gritty, high-energy, but at the same time introspective and hopefully, life-changing. May it be a light in a dark time such as this."
With a goal to change the world for all the kids to live in a better one, Young collaborates with "my genius producer Jeff Seraphin and my brother/ beatmaker Ayronn Young. Without them I would not have any music out."
Ayrton's style is somewhat inspired by two of the biggest names in modern hip hop. "Big inspiration for the EP comes from A$AP Rocky, not only because he's married to Rihanna (IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ME), but because of his overall style and flow.
"My favourite rapper though is Kendrick Lamar. Watched him live in Adelaide. I was front and centre, and also had a meet and greet with him. I was wearing this Chinese collar long sleeve and he said 'Nice shirt'. I was like 'Uh th-th-thanks'.
"Because of him I had to make my bars introspective but still hard-hitting. As for the beats themselves, there are splashes of The Weeknd and Travis Scott in there, the ominous yet inviting sonics of modern hip pop."
'Gospel For The Lost' also has an animal theme running throughout the five tracks. "I told my producer, Jeff, I wanted dogs barking at the start of the EP just to make it sound more dangerous.
"It's different because the EP itself, and the other tracks ('Mercy', 'Hallelujah', 'Breaking Curses', and 'Amen & Amen') don't seem like they're rap songs based on the titles alone.
"Somebody's grandma will eventually pick it up as a tranquil worship project only to hear A$AP adlibs and an intro that goes BARK BARK BARK!
"Fun fact: There's a different animal sound on each of the five tracks. Don't think a lot of people can name them all lol!"
Ayrton Young performs the halftime show (with Travis Miguel) at FIBA's Battle Of The Court basketball tournament in Adelaide on 18 November; later that day Young performs as part of Heart Song Festival.