Behold, a sneak preview of the young, emotional, and-okay-with-talking-about-it rappers Yung Lean and the Sad Boys in their official tour gear created as part of a special collaboration with Spanish underground label Shallowww. The unlikely group of rappers (re: white, Swedish, openly depressed) are about to embark on their White Marble Tour, which begins next week. “Slated to bring their special brand of sad rap to 24 European cities in just 26 days, Yung Lean and the Sad Boys crew will be joined by their close compatriots and frequent collaborators the Gravity Boys, which include White Armor, ECCO2K, and Bladee. For the duration of the tour, all will be wearing these custom head-to-toe marble printed jump suits, bucket hats, and kimonos that were “inspired by the Internet generation.”
Given the two groups have a pronounced mutual interest in hyper-referencing the dystopian effects of internet culture (and are both, you know, pretty into white marble textures…), it not only makes sense that they would join forces on a capsule collection for the tour, it actually kind of feels like kismet. Shallowww describes this collection as an extension of an earlier project called “Internet Souvenirs” which already featured all white marble printed garments beginning in 2012 (this is also when Yung Lean himself first became a fan of the label). What exactly is the significance of white marble? Shallowww explains that it fits in with the project’s larger ethos, “Internet Souvenirs starts from patterns that have become popular online for their merely visual value and reflect on their gradual loss of substances and relation with Real Life.”
Beginning March 12, the White Marble Tour will be the Stockholm-based collective’s first time performing across Europe since skyrocketing out of the dark depths of DIY-digital obscurity and into the realm of #internetfamous over the course of 2013. With multiple videos now in excess of 1million views on YouTube, Yung Lean and his Sad Boys have proven that there is space for a new kind of melancholic rap. A rap that accepts morosely-delivered rhymes about rap-game-standard subjects like females, fellatio, and Ferragamo can actually be interspersed with genuine expressions of loneliness, vulnerability, and addiction to Arizona Iced Tea. That realizes the potential of maximally auto-tuned verses flowing over faded beats lingering somewhere between Lil’ B and James Ferraro.
Between their trademark bevy of scattered shout-outs to bitcoins, Space Jam, blu-ray discs, Pokemon, and eBay, their songs contain unhesitating admissions of the so-called “weak” class of emotions that historically have been avoided (or even derided) by rap music. In other words, these guys show that as of 2014, not only is it acceptable for rappers to have “the feels,” it’s an indication of a new way rap music can continue to evolve alongside the Internet generation, while avoiding becoming yet another souvenir.
Photos by Märta Thisner.