Que ft. Migos – “Young N*gga”


A lot of P&P’s readers will likely glance at the title of this song and just as quickly write it off. In the distorting vacuum of the internet, prevailing attitudes towards songs like “Young N*gga” and rappers like Que are usually as follows. Either critics assume no value can be taken from something so seemingly ignorant and unoriginal, or they take a “like it for what it is” approach. Some assume that listeners can only like this sort of music ironically, that the Chief Keefs, Gucci Manes, and Trinidad James’s of the world dance around for the delight of an audience whose “love” is laced with snark.

While the internet can tell you the temperature of an artist or song (you didn’t need to leave the comfort of your home and see the mask-bearing billboards across the country to know that Daft Punk was a big deal), it is a faulty barometer. The internet can’t take you to the clubs in Atlanta, can’t tell you that “Young N*gga” connecting with live flesh-and-blood listeners in contexts where hits have been broken time after time. If you know a bit about rap, southern gangsta rap in particular, you probably know what to expect out of Que’s street single. The chorus to the rapper’s tribute to his young goons?

“Young nigga, young nigga, young nigga young nigga young nigga
Young nigga, I stay with the pistols, I hang with drug dealers, guerillas and killers
Young nigga, young nigga, young nigga young nigga young nigga
Young nigga, I stay with the pistols, I hang with drug dealers, guerillas and killers”

Timeless poetry? Perhaps not, but it’s catchy as all hell, a reminder that the most hooks that stay with us run along that razor’s edge between easy memorability and incessant repetition, with a sprinkling of unexpected words and phrasings to keep the ear alert. “Young N*gga” is energetically nihilistic, an increasingly common attitude in modern gangsta music. Without its infectious hook, it would be consigned to the DatPiff scrap heap that so many similar songs inhabit. Let’s call it proof of life outside the blogosphere (in case you needed it).

Check out a live in club performance of “Young N*gga” below.

  • http://twitter.com/goldxdiamonds LORD ILLINGTON

    it’s gonna blow up because this is the kind of shit poison the music industry likes to push.

  • aurascoper


  • http://twitter.com/heywingspan Wingspan


  • http://twitter.com/JonTanners Metta World Tanners

    But is that really the whole picture? I mean yes these are certainly the sorts of songs that get picked up by majors, but it’s not like the labels invent the songs or the artists behind them (at least in some cases). We can argue about the quality of the music, but I think it’s too quick to write it off as label creation rather than something more organic.

  • byahbyah

    As a blogger do you not see yourself as part of the problem here? If it weren’t for you I would have never heard this regional one hit wonder.

    The only reason you’re posting it though is because its “buzzing in Atlanta” and because of the novelty of it being called “Young Nigga”. I mean, lets be honest.

    Also, you and I both know that the music industry’s agenda trickles down beyond the major labels. It doesn’t matter if a major label is pushing this, apparently radio stations and clubs in Atlanta are pushing this as the “next big hit”.

    So I’m confused here, is it really something organic, or is its success on a scale larger than Atlanta dependent on blogs and publications like yours?

  • http://twitter.com/JonTanners Metta World Tanners

    I am unquestionably a part of that feedback loop.

    If we’re being honest–and perhaps this will lose me some points in the “tastemaker” department–I actually happen to enjoy this record. Maybe the sound is fleeting, maybe it’s annoying to some listeners (hell, I was raised on A Tribe Called Quest and Wu Tang, this would have been poison to my ears a decade ago), but this particular record hit me. The circumstances around it certainly helped nudge me in the direction of posting, but music doesn’t exist without context. Some songs I post simply because I love the music, some I post because I’m interested in the cultural circumstances surrounding them. Some are a confluence of the two.

    The system that funnels music through radio, clubs, and into the hands of major labels isn’t necessarily organic, but people’s reactions, to an extent, can’t be so easily manufactured on a major scale as you suggest. I know that’s a loaded statement and there’s plenty to be said about the way corporations influence culture, but when we get to discussing influence at THAT level, very little remains “organic.” It’s easy to write music like this off as inconsequential, but I think that reaction doesn’t do justice to the fact that there are actual human beings listening to and enjoying songs like this one.

  • http://twitter.com/goldxdiamonds LORD ILLINGTON

    it’s as organic as the majors taking over hip hop in the 90’s and turning from the “Black CNN” to “shoot ’em up, sell dope, money is god.”.. oh, and let’s not forget that 95% of the majors have money in the prison industry complex via the stock exchange. it runs real deep.

  • https://soundcloud.com/eidn/eidn-never-die-im-alive cmmtsundertheinflnce

    There’s only one “Young Nigga”.

  • byahbyah

    Maybe its just me buy I feel like there is much more interesting narratives and music with more interesting cultural circumstances than your typical flavor of the month record in which the artist insists that they’re a “young rich nigga” when we all know they probably don’t have money at all but are actually feeling the pressure of this industry to act like a tough young black man that has more money than they other.

    In fact, I know there is more interesting narratives in your own inbox.

  • http://twitter.com/MattHasTheMusic Matt Tompkins

    The song is a hit for two reasons: Beat and Flow. Sonny Digital is a phenom on the boards, and these cats use quick flows with strong prowess. It may be garbage lyrically, but technically/musically, it’s a strong track.

  • DatDudeBruhBruh

    Totally agree. Their flows are literally like a full round being released from some form of pellet gun. These guys may not be very lyrically inclined, but they do possess the ability to drop numerous memorable lines with a wonderfully rhythmic delivery.

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