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Young Holyfield’s New Single “1Concern”

Seconds of instrumental seduction stand between the start of Young Holyfield’s new single “1Concern” and the first appearance of his vocals, but it is within this time that we get our first taste of the grandiosity this track will be built upon. Lovingly excessive and yet perfectly controlled by the deliberately hesitant pacing of the beat, “1Concern” teases us with the possibility of getting high off of the sway of the melody right out of the gate, but it soon reveals itself to be a verse-driven piece of tremendous vocal depth. Holyfield followers have come to demand nothing less than this kind of performance, but even the most dedicated of fans will probably be rather surprised at how impressive this new song is.  

The lyrical narrative in this single is simple and smart; addressing the emotional crises that are contemporary life for those in the game, Holyfield doesn’t flirt with directness but instead makes it the primary weapon he’ll use in the war on predictable poetry. One of the best parts about “1Concern” is that while the verses are very even and poppy, they don’t follow such a rigid pattern as to make us feel like this rapper’s pipes are going underutilized in comparison to what we already know he can do. He isn’t shortchanging anybody in this track, which puts him a step above a lot of other artists working on their third or fourth albums.  

We come to the chorus in “1Concern” and it’s made quite obvious that the hook in this single is but an extension of the greater optimistic vibe we first encounter in the instrumental introduction roughly a minute beforehand. The style of production isn’t getting in the way of our feeling like we’ve been put in premium front-row seats for what was already an intimate club performance from Young Holyfield with or without the presence of the gifted Ishadon, and while it could have been spruced up with additional instrumental elements (real and fake alike), I adore his keeping everything here as nice and neat as possible. Nothing kills a quality hip-hop song like this one quite like sonic clutter, but my gut says this rapper already knew that well before he ever penned this track.  

For smooth melodies and a cool mood that is straight out of the lifestyle he’s made his own, Young Holyfield is the man you want to go see in 2023. Whether you have the chance to hear him play live or just take a moment to explore his catalog starting with “1Concern,” his is an artistry you won’t regret exploring – if for no other reason than the soul-affirming narrative his work implies in most every epic composition he’s recorded. Holyfield is a one-of-a-kind musician and steward of true hip-hop music, and he’s doing his part to respond to a world in need of good tunes and relatable stories this year. I think this feels like the beginning, and I can see where others who hear this song might feel the same way. 

Mindy McCall



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