Revivalism can be a tricky sport to get involved with. There’s always the obvious risk of sounding a little bit too much like someone more established and influential than you – never a good look. From a spectator’s standpoint, though, it’s always intriguing to watch someone wrestle with their heroes aesthetic because this is often where genuine novelty is most easily found, if only the artist gives themselves enough room to breathe.
Last week we shared the short, warm and relentlessly laid back teaser for a project by yoyo: a relatively new-to-the-scene beatmaker from Cape Town with a proudly dusty aesthetic. Now, we’re proud to premiere the full tape that the teaser was alluding to, Juice.
To say that yoyo wears his influences on his sleeves would both be an over- and under-simplification of his work. Throughout the tape – which is best consumed in a single sitting – he flexes all the muscles necessary to compete in the Golden Era revivalist scene. But over the space of 12 lightning-quick tracks, yoyo displays a sharp sense of humour, playfulness and ear for a catchy vocal – all undervalued attributes in the beat world.
Vocal cuts from one-hit-wonder Mims pop up where one might usually expect a sample from a more traditionally underground act, for example, not to mention his sly use of an understated Busta Rhymes ballad. Of course, J Dilla worship is still the order of the day, in other words, but at least the upholstery has been redone in this familiar ride (and it’s been handcrafted, too).
Late standouts like ‘Adayinthepark’ are just as transitory as their names suggest, breezing through at under a minute without breaking a sweat, but their brevity aids a lot in making this tape as easy a listen as it is. Yoyo has already promised on a second instalment – potentially another featuring some vocalists and emcees – and if it builds on the solid foundation displayed here (and maybe incorporates some of his more footwork and house-leaning sensibilities) then we’re all in for a good time.