- YP is an artist with a knack for telling stories and he illustrates that very well with his project, “A CLEVELAND STORY: HEART OF THE CITY”. “A CLEVELAND STORY: HEART OF THE CITY” gives you a look into YP’s life starting with the intro that features a news clip that sets the stage for YP, and the overall message seems to be, that it’s a jungle out there. “The Life I Lead” is a very revealing look into YP’s life and his struggles from being a father to being a hustler and how the end justifies the means of it all. I absolutely love the flow YP delivers on “SoufSide” and how serious it can get in Cleveland. The most notable tracks on the project in my opinion are “Just Sayin” Featuring Flyy And Big O because of it’s high energy and the chemistry between all of the artists, “Where The Playas Go” (Prod. Big O) because of the laid back feel and how YP just seems so comfortable and on his pimp shit with this one. “Follow Me” takes you on a journey or at least a walk through YP’s stomping grounds and the one thing I will say about this track is that YP is not just rapping to hear himself rap, he puts his heart into it. “The Lover’s Feel”, “Run To“, and “Reflections I II”, show a more present YP who sounds sure of himself, but the one thing that I don’t really care for throughout the whole project is the inconsistency of YP’s delivery and I’m not talking about the cadences, but more or less his confidence level which makes him sound a little unsure of himself on tracks like “Hold Me Down” and “Flashbacks”. On the track, “Obituaries”, YP puts us in our feelings with lines like “You help us cus you love us, sisters and brothas, and where you going can be viewed as scary, but we gon meet again, that time apart is only temporary”, and sometimes we need to hear music that makes us feel and YP has succeeded at it. I think YP is a standout artist and he needs to accept the fact that he can be confident on the tracks because when he attacks a beat that seems to really fit him, he absolutely kills it. Definitely worth the download!
What I loved: I Love YP’s dedication to Cleveland and the talent that he has when it comes to putting together songs that make you think and his stellar storytelling skills.
What I hated: The inconsistent confidence level in some of the songs. I would love to hear a more aggressive YP and more soulful sampled beats because that is where YP seems to shine the brightest.
About the Artist:
Raised on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio, Raymond “YP” Simpson came up around the roughest of conditions. Though he endured harsh surroundings, trials and tribulations, YP never forsaw music as being an outlet to escape from it all. “I always liked to listen to music or whatever, but I never looked at it as something to do or get into. My focus was life and the struggle my family was going through.” he answered in an interview. Survival was the motto of his upbringing. However, these early years would eventually lay the foundation for YP the man, as well as the artist.
An artist of many talents and unable to find adequate help musically at the onset of his career, YP took it upon himself to learn everything on his known. He is now known as an accomplished producer/rapper/songwriter/engineer. YP has always been a lover of music and hip hop in particular but did not discover his talent for creating music until the age of 18. In 2005, during his sophomore year at the University of Toledo, YP would form a strong bond with his newly met roommate “J. Keyes” and the group/company Young Hustlas was formed. The Young Hustlas quickly built a following on campus, releasing three street albums in a two year period to feed their growing fan base. Feeling the need to expand musically, YP began work on what would be his individual introduction to the world titled: A Cleveland Story. The album would serve as a musical autobiography that detailed his life experiences.
To further expand the YHE brand, YP has spent the last couple years producing and writing for other artists in Cleveland and many other areas. His first solo mixtape, “IT’S ON ME” was released in May of 2010. Also a collaborative EP with Cleveland based producer Big O was released later that year, aptly titled, “Soul of The Streets.” However, feeling burnt out and stressed from the rigors of the fledgling music scene he took at break from everything dealing with me music in 2011.
A four year hiatus that included an engagement and 2 kids followed. Something about starting a family seemed to have sparked his creative juices. “Man I could not write anything for like 3-4 years. It was crazy. I could’nt create. Then it seemed out of nowhere the bars, the hooks, the melodies just starting flowing.” In early 2015 YP reconnected with long time collaborator Big O and began to finish what he started 4 years ago. Then a major setback hit in April 2015. While leaving his fiancée’s house, he was robbed and shot in the back, thusly putting the music on hold for about two months. Once released from the hospital and fully recovered, his debut single “Where The Playas Go” Prod. by Big O was released on July 20, 2015. The follow up single “I’m Just Sayin” was released in August 2015. His debut album A Cleveland Story: Heart of The City was released October 13, 2015 to nothing but positive reviews. “I’m just working man. I’m just really trying to take this thing to the next level. Once I’m done, the whole world is gonna remember me. Thats the goal.” YP’s follow up album Joyous Pain is scheduled for a summer 2016 release.
Debut album from Cleveland artist YP, A Cleveland Story: Heart of the City. The album is a journey of the highs and lows of coming of age in Cleveland