It took a minute, but YCee is finally getting back to rap

"I Wish" is the cavalry charge for your favorite commercial rapper

Though rap is largely regarded as a mainstream genre, conservative rap heads are always quick to distinguish hip-hop from pop and all its other commercial derivatives. Their loyalty is sworn to rappers who manage to stick to the genre’s quirks while also appealing to mainstream fame like YCee did with “Jagaban”, his breakout single in 2015. He cut his teeth on rap flows and won the hearts of rap fans in Nigeria, only to be nudged into a pop scene a little more concerned with state-of-the-art Afropop and dance music than the clever wordplay he excelled at. His debut project, the First Wave EP gestured to sultry-Afropop with singles like Seyi Shay assisted “Need To Know” and radio favorite, “Juice” featuring Maleek Berry.

While the switch secured his relevance in Nigerian music conversations with his songs getting airplay on radio and his guest features on club inclined songs, it made him the scapegoat of MI’s recent unprovoked jab at pop rappers on “You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Lives”. Anyone who shares the same sentiment with Mr Incredible about popular music somehow being less critical because it’s primed for mainstream audience might have to admit their contrarian and contrived bias. Regardless of what beat he sings or raps on, YCee still exhibits the same energy that he puts towards spitting something hard. His latest single, a freestyle titled “I Wish” could easily be aimed at anyone, but the decided hip-hop beat and his conventional rap flow hints at a lone cavalry charge even before his boastful and insulting lyrics.

His first lines, a reference from Batman’s twisted universe—“Like The Joker Going Right Off The Bat”—confirms his blood lust as he maintains the intensity over the synth heavy beat Beatsbykarma produces. Attacking his critics, he reminds everyone he’s still a deft wordsmith while also showing off his mainstream success; “The Hip-hop Game’s Been Ignoring Me/ Act Like They Don’t See What The Boy Be Doing Globally/ Things I’m Doing On A Large Scale Will Leave Your Mind Pale”. 

Though “I Wish” bravely pushes YCee’s artistry into hip-hop’s darker, more aggressive territory at some cost to his chart traction, it highlights his largely understated diversity. You can stream “I Wish” below.

Featured Image Credits: Instagram/iam_ycee

You are meeting Debola at a strange time in his life. He wandered into a dream and lost his way back. Tweet at him @debola_abimbolu

ICYMI: Listen to YCee’s debut project, ‘First Wave’ here