Yuni Wa is Princeton Coleman, Little Rock-based beat crafter and producer. After a series of strong, diverse beat tape releases, Yuni Wa released Manifesto, which we at No Smoking are happy to share with you today. It’s populated mostly by one-or-two-minute rhythmic journeys, and its strongest outside influence is probably J Dilla. Stick along for the ride and stream some tracks, you’ll definitely hear something you enjoy.
The album begins with a spoken-word intro on “PVC,” a sort of confession about being musically inspired by personal struggle (and this confession is literally drenched in reverb). I do love me tone-guiding speech samples, though. I’m a sucker for it. Yuni Wa‘s production flirts with boombap stylings, consisting mostly of simple, groovy loops and banging hooks to accompany them. “Leafs” is probably one of my favorite numbers on this album, full of drippy piano chords and prime vocal-chorus mixing. Smooth use of vocals is clearly Yuni Wa‘s strong point; “From Here” features a sultry and mysterious repeating loop of “we will never find” juxtaposed against a horn section circling in space and a really boomy drumkit. The lounge-chill aesthetics of “Want To Be” make me recall early Joey Badass mixtapes, not to mention the beat tapes of one LDSK. Actually, it seems almost like LDSK and Yuni are sampling from the same catalog. But you can be the judge of that for yourself.
Reaching the half point of the album, I’d like to re-state my initial vibe – that this mixtape sounds a loooooot like certain aspects of the J Dilla catalog. And that’s a good thing, you know, I love J Dilla – as far as short track times and drum-heavy, simplistic beats go, Yuni Wa is on the same page as the late great James Dewitt Yancey. Yuni’s stylings are a little more mellow, though, and less bassy. “88 Trans AM” is easily my favorite track on this album, featuring a fat low end and a synth hook that makes me feel like I’m driving through L.A. streets in the 80s inside a sports car with some crazy lighting under the body. Or something. It’s a good visual, in any case. All in all, I’d definitely recommend Manifesto to the uninitiated beat-tape listener, and I’d note that this is a good omen for Yuni Wa‘s development as an artist too.