Album Appreciation: Young M.A.’s “Off The Yak” Stakes Royal Claim

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This is your yearly reminder that Young M.A. is making some of the best drill and trap music these days. Off the Yak is a noisy collection of heavy hitting beats and undeniable braggadocio.

“Hello Baby” sees the Queen of New York body Fivio Foreign, showing that the rightful heir to the throne that would’ve been Pop Smoke’s should belong to Young M.A. Due to the present misogyny in trap music and its fans, M.A. might not get the chance, but she’ll settle for consistent appreciation from fans and a steady flow of streams still coming in from 2017 megahit “OOOUUU.”

Young M.A. skates all over a ringing, bassy instrumental on “Maan (got me f’d up),” dedicating her time to talking shit about her personal philosophy; stick to the money and don’t worry about lames. 

“Yak Thoughts” sees Young M.A. slow the tempo, a track that takes away some momentum from the album’s flow, but gives fans a more intimate look at the rapper’s inner workings. “It ain’t normal when you gotta bring your gun to bed / I can’t sleep without it / That’s a different type of paranoia.” No doubt she’s thinking about other Black royalty that had their lives taken.

While the album isn’t particularly innovative from a stylistic perspective, it’s important that a Black queer femme is able to stake her claim as the elite of such a large movement. In a music landscape run by a wealthy few with a vested interest in the status quo, Young M.A.’s commitment to herself and her no-bullshit attitude is refreshing and impressive.

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