Interview
Photo: Sope Adelaja.

Interview: Yung L Is Putting Out the Best Work of His Career

We talk to the Nigerian artist about his fourth project Yaadman Kingsize and connecting with his spirituality amidst the internalized corruption in his country.

Yung L has paid his dues. Over a decade ago, he left Jos for the competitive Lagos market, and then established himself as one of the finest voices creating dancehall-inflected music out of the continent.

On early records like the hit "SOS," his boisterous, informed energy jumps at the listener. No one else but Yung L can embody the full-throated promise in the lyrics "I and I be the man on fire/ I and I be the Young Mandela." Subsequent years would see him dub his style 'Afro Zimm,' an homage to his black roots as well as 'Zimm,' the Caribbean music that has inspired his journey as a person and artist.

During the creation process for his sophomore album, Yung L would tell producers that Yaadman Kingsize was 'his Grammy project,' and the task for quality was early on established. Packed in a concise tracklist of 11 songs, the album follows a character-driven journey that celebrates life, women and spirituality. Although it features homegrown icons like Seun Kuti and Wizkid, the control in Yung L's songwriting shapes the album as an imminent cult classic, the kind of project that will always find its own.

OkayAfrica spoke to Yung L about Yaadman Kingsize and the spiritual awakening that is inspiring some of his best work, a decade into his career.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

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