By Alexa Spieler
Throughout 2013, the 18-year-old, Swedish rapper Yung Lean raised eyebrows, predominately with outsiders questioning his online presence.
Most of the attention burgeoned with the release of his music video for “Ginseng Strip 2002,” as the video reached viral status, surpassing two million views. Prior to the video’s initial success, Lean hadn’t ventured far from his hometown of Stockholm, but after a summer of touring the U.S., Lean will be returning to the U.S., starting with his return to New York’s Webster Hall on Dec. 1.
Yung Lean spoke with WSN, via e-mail, to discuss his forthcoming tour, his intentions on meeting Gucci Mane, and the physical release of his album, “Unknown Memory.”
On July 9, Webster Hall housed Lean’s first show in North America. The venue marks a significant moment in the rapper’s career, reflecting Lean’s enormous success from Sweden, which permitted him to perform a sold-out show in New York. The Dec. 1 show, at the same venue, is something Lean’s looking forward to. Among which, he noted that he’s looking forward to the “free clothes and the raw attitude[s] of the civilians living in NYC.”
The “Unknown Memory” Tour will take Lean throughout North America until Dec. 20. Due to his earlier summer tour, Lean no longer findings touring in the U.S. something he’s inexperienced with or unexposed to, as it served as preparation.
He commented, “Now, I know not to eat alligator snacks in the south…and also that 4 Loko isn’t as good as it sounds.”
For Lean, his performances hold promises of rarely disappointing and of providing energizing, eclectic shows. As he said, “You know if you come out to one of my shows, it’s my nightmare for someone to be disappointed.”
With Lean hailing from Sweden, it’s often been difficult for his American fans to see him live, which he doesn’t take for granted. It’s also been difficult to achieve mainstream success in the U.S., for an international artist that spans farther than YouTube hits. As he noted, “It’s a blessing that people enjoy my music and come to my shows, so once they are there, I go in 1000000%.”
In conjunction with touring, Lean recently released the physical edition of his “Unknown Memory,” LP, which had only been available digitally. The decision to put out physical release partially reflected his enjoyment in “holding things.”
As he explained, “Everything is on the Internet, but when I was a kid, I bought all my CDs or stole them from friends or school. I like vinyls, CDs, posters — anything that you can keep.”
Yung Lean will conclude 2014 by touring in North America, but his eyes are set on Europe for touring in 2015, including, returning home for a performance in Sweden.
Aside from his 2015 touring plans, Lean seeks crossing several items off his bucket-list, including: building a tree house, making a short film starring Zlatan Ibrahomvic & Thaiboy Digital, releasing more clothes and songs, and meeting Gucci Mane.
Alexa Spieler is music editor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org