The last couple of years have certainly brought a lot to the surface culturally, and in the world of music, it created an open window for up-and-coming artists from across the underground to break into the mainstream and reframe what pop can be in this new decade. Young Holyfield has not sat by and lets any time go to waste by any measurement when looking at his career thus far; he has been busy cultivating and creating, diving into his own heart to find a means of better understanding his fan base and the music they want to hear him play.
Now 2023 is here, and after a lot of hard work in the studio, Holyfield presents us with a new single in “1Concern” beside the equally talented Ishadon that together forms the most important release he’s ever turned in. As much a power ballad of personal origin as it is a loving gesture to a hip-hop scene that needs more flexibility, “1Concern” examines the lengths we’ll go to get away from a mundane groove – often with our finding that the best remedies were right in front of us all along. Simply put, this is a rapper who isn’t about to stick with the status quo but instead finds us a blossoming tone to celebrate in this new chapter for the genre.
“1Concern” boasts a criminally understated groove, and it’s necessarily so because of Holyfield’s need to make the harmony-born fireworks the main attraction at all times. He doesn’t want us getting hung up on one angle of this single over another, and while this ends up leaving him with a finite amount of wiggle room between the bassline and the drums, he’s able to exploit this very feature boldly (and thus make his lyrics a little more tangible to the listener). You can’t beat the natural feel of these melodic parts, nor the clean manner in which they were produced to complement the strength of the percussion in the background, and if you’d told me I would be saying as much in a song as centered on lead vocals as this one is just a week ago, I likely would have called you a fool.
I’m probably not the first music journalist to write this about the one and only Young Holyfield, but I still feel like it’s worth noting that soft rock has a true savior in both his artistry and the music it has given us in his career so far. Material like this proves that he can take this sound in any direction he wants as long as he stays in tune with his vocal skills (which both he and Ishadon do rather flawlessly in “1Concern”), and I don’t think it’s unfair to say it should leave his contemporaries a little envious and eager to one-up the accomplishment in the months ahead. This man is never finished refining and growing as a musician, and it is for this reason that I think he’s become so comfortable with his identity and sound.