Yeek’s spring release, Sebastian, was the main focus of his performance at X House earlier this month. Sebastian is Yeek’s real name, and the album addresses the conflicts that exist between Yeek, the performer, and who he is as Sebastian.
At first glance, Sebastian sounds like another album about a singer lavishly living it up in California. He talks about the Malibu parties, the girls, and the views--but there are subtle lyrics littered throughout the album that emphasize the conflict Yeek feels. In “The Left,” he writes “rewind to four years ago in Florida, it was real / Why do I feel like an actor in a movie?” that speaks to how he felt more authentic in his hometown then he does as a celebrity in LA. By including a female voiceover at the end of his song, “You really use the word "bitches" in your song? You misogynistic asshole!” Yeek questions how rappers portray themselves in their music, and how that affects their listeners' opinion of them. The voiceover works as self-criticism and criticism of rap culture in general, and by including it, Yeek separates himself from this “typical rapper” that he seems to embody throughout the song. In “Only in the West,” he writes “music don’t pay the bills / music don’t pay for food” which emphasizes the harsh reality of an artist that is not usually portrayed. Throughout the album, Yeek tackles the struggle of balancing who he is as a successful artist with how his roots define him.
Although the meanings are mellow, the songs themselves are quite the opposite. Yeek’s chill, dreamy California vibe proved to be a hot attraction at the concert on October 7th, where the lucky ones who got into X House were dancing and jamming, and the long line of people waiting outside were pushing their way to get in. Yeek’s West Coast vibes were definitely unique and refreshing to the East Coast majority in the audience. Songs such as “Come Back,” I’m Not Ready,” and “Beach Funeral,” all mention classic LA themes of sunny beach living, skating under palm trees, and the crazy millennial lifestyle. But more than just embodying the West Coast through lyrics, Yeek seamlessly combines musical styles and components of surf-rock, indie, emo-punk, hip-hop, and R&B, to create chill jams that can appeal to anyone. Influenced by other genre-bending artists such as Frank Ocean and The Cure, Yeek refers to his style as “imaginative,” and likes to combine mainstream hip-hop beats with simplistic guitar solos, riffs, and melodic vocals.
However, even while gaining considerate popularity and garnering a social media following, Yeek insists he is just like all the other young adults trying to make it in the world. His humble and positive outlook on life shined when he talked to the audience before taking the stage. Sounding just like your typical college student, Yeek asked us about the social scene at Wesleyan, life on the East Coast, and how we were enjoying our first year. By telling us more about his musical influences and career, Yeek showed us how he is not a typical rapper trying to promote himself every chance he has, but rather that he is an artist making music to share with others and to learn more about himself in the process. The fact that he spent time connecting with his fans before performing speaks to how personable he is, and how he cares about those who support him, which made his set that much more entertaining.
Overall, it was a packed show. Audio.nymous opened up the night with a powerful performance of spoken word and rap, and LAZ entertained the crowd with his beaming personality and care-free songs. But the night belonged to Yeek as he dominated the stage in front of dancing Wesleyan students. Even though his set started at midnight, the crowd continued to party hard, vibing to his beats and guitar riffs, and singing along to his most popular songs that have garnered around a million or so plays on Spotify. As the night wound down around 1:30 a.m., the fans left X House sweaty and tired, but with smiles on their faces.
All in all, Yeek really rocked his performance at X-House. His modest, yet confident attitude on stage went along quite well with Wesleyan’s music scene.
- Sanya Bery & Gabriel Ballard