Hardcore lyrical hip-hop is one of those few things that speaks out as being quintessentially New York. Another distinctly New York thing is the Subway, with its tiled pillars, and instantly recognisable, distinctive iconography. WHYYOUNGN has paired the two in the music video for his latest single, ‘D A R L E N E’, which he has shot in a subway station. He’s standing up and declaring himself to be a son of New York.
He’s also waving a flag for his borough, Brooklyn. He gives a shout out in the track to the Grand Army Plaza, a transport hub in the heart of Brooklyn, one which links those rougher networks south of Prospect Park, to those wealthier ones further north. In the short one minute and 40 seconds of ‘D A R L E N E’ we see WHYYOUNGN give it his all. Just like the subway trains, he comes on with speed, force, and authority; and then it’s suddenly all over.
The video takes us into the tunnels below Grand Army Plaza, and WHYYOUNGN shows it to us all, as only a local could. We see him rapping underneath the fluorescent lights, and we see the silver turnstiles, the black iron grates, the wooden seats, the MetroCard booths, the wall art, and the transit police hovering on the streets above the station. In one shot, WHYYOUNGN stands in front of the subway map as if he’s part of not just it, but also part of the city’s geography and history. And as a living link to the ongoing story of hip-hop in New York, that’s exactly what he is.