As one half of Flosstradamus, he more than garnered success. His production work on a remix of Diplo’s “Original Don” helped spur a dance music movement. Flosstradamus translated southern hip-hop’s trap sound into a major dance festival staple. It’s a genre that crossed oceans and inspired thousands, while rocketing Young and his partner Curt Cameruci to bigger stages, bigger lineups, and bigger responsibilities. They became the poster boys of a sound, a feeling, an aesthetic, but as is so often the case with success, the attention was a double-edged sword.
“There were times most recently where it was just too many cooks in the kitchen,” Young says. “The ideas started to get a little stale or a little convoluted, and it wasn’t really authentically me or authentically Curt at the point. So, I decided to leave, and that’s where I’m going.”
Fans who follow Young will find a more direct connection with the producer than ever before. For the first time in his life, he’s making all his own decisions. He’s back to being an independent artist, and a solo one at that. He took the name YehMe2, a subtle nod to the watermark sample ripped from Clipse’s “Mr. Me Too,” that also serves as a straight-forward, self-affirming statement.
“I really want to get focused,” he says. “Yehme2 is 100 percent my vision, my sound, and just authentically me as a person. There’s a lot of me and who I am in the music, stuff I listen to growing up and just everything that influenced my past, present, and future that’s coming across. That’s definitely a huge part of this for sure … And then as far as my communication with the fans, whether it be me on Twitter or me with music, they just know I’m talking to them directly.”
His busy touring schedule put his brain through a “bottle neck.” He had all these ideas for new music or edits of favorite tunes old and new. It was driving him crazy, so he challenged himself to make one beat a day, every day, for the whole month of May. He’d post them all immediately after completion to Instagram, whatever shape they were in, whatever reaction they might get. It wasn’t about perfection. It was about repetition, the simple act of forcing oneself to put the sounds in his head out into the world.
He got into a rhythm, and eventually found himself pumping out more musical edits than he knew what to do with. He dropped 30 of them into a 50-minute mix called Steal This Mixtape, a genre-hopping open-format exploration of Young the man that mixes and matches hits from Gucci Mane with Nine Inch Nails, Justice, and System of a Down. Gwen Stefani somehow makes sense with Dizzee Rascal and Frank Sinatra.
“There’s literally no one there to stop me from being able to do whatever I want,” Young says. “I’m having so much fun with it, and I’m just really enjoying being able to get my vision up front and then keep the train on the rails.”
It’s all still deeply rooted in the intersection of dance and hip-hop, where Young spent most of his life, and it’s nothing Floss fans won’t be able to understand or relate to. But it’s also none of the things about the trap genre that Young never really meant to indulge. He’s stepping back into the sounds that first inspired Flosstradamus — sampling, heavy rap beats — while simultaneously stepping away from the heavy, aggressive, almost dubstep-esque sound that trap became.
Today, he shares his first full tune as YehMe2, a remix of Gucci Mane and Drake’s “Both.” It comes in light and hyphy, something you can move your feet to at a party. It’s got a bit of that classic festival trap sound on the drop, but it keeps things colorful. It’s a track that inspires you to have fun, because really, shouldn’t that be the point? Where’s the fun in formulas you’ve already figured out?
“It’s totally new to me, but I’m in a headspace right now where I feel like I can take it on,” Young says. “I would’t have left if I didn’t feel capable, and that’s the best part about this. Not only am I excited to have that freedom again, I’m also excited to see what I can do.”
Under the name A.CHAL, Peruvian-born singer, songwriter, and producer Alejandro Chal offers a moody, atmospheric take on electronic R&B with lyrics half-sung, half-rapped, and often switching between English and Spanish. Chal’s family moved to the U.S. when he was four years old, settling in Queens, New York. He began rapping at a young age and soon began experimenting with beats with a neighborhood friend. Relocating to Los Angeles in 2010 to pursue a music career, Chal self-released his debut EP, 2013’s Ballroom Riots, which caught the interest of Sony ATV, who signed him to a publishing deal. His 2015 single “Round Whippin'” found widespread exposure when Beats1 DJ Zane Lowe gave the song a world premiere on his show. It was an effective boon to Chal’s career, and by year’s end he’d racked up numerous critical accolades. “Round Whippin'” was included on his 2016 debut full-length, Welcome to GAZI, introducing his hazy, nocturnal sound to an even larger audience. Following a collaboration with French producer STWO, Chal began issuing singles in advance of his next LP, ON GAZ, which arrived in June 2017 and included the hit “Love N Hennessy.” That single appeared as a remix the following year featuring 2 Chainz and Nicky Jam.