The Young Gunz, Roc-A-Fella Records’ “Youngest In Charge,” have been on the scene since the beginning of the decade, when they held their own with their Philadelphia peers – including Beanie Sigel and Freeway – on the first State Property album.
When it came time for the second State Property CD in 2003, the Gunnerz – made up of the inseparable Young Chris (Chris Ries) and Neef (Hanif Muhammad) – led the charge with the single, “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop.” Chris and Neef had arrived. They dropped their debut album, Tough Luv, in 2004. Powered by, “Can’t Stop,” and the infectious, “No Better Love,” Tough Luv announced the Young Gunz as the next generation of the Roc.
With their second album, Brothers From Another, the future is now. “Nothing too complicated on this one,” remarks Young Chris, “This is just me and Neef growing as artists, trying to make the best possible music we can. Letting ourselves expand, try different things, but remain true to who we are.”
The Young Gunz’s flexibility as artists is evident all over the album. Whether filling, up dance floors on the lead single “Set It Off,” (produced by Swizz Beats), or expressing heartache on the moving, “What I Gotta Do,” (wherein Young Chris interpolates bars from Jay-Z’s “Somehow, Someway”), the group is in top form.
For their second album, the Young Gunz relied heavily on their go-to producer, Chadwest. In their fellow Philadelphian, the duo has found a beatmaker as versatile as they are. According to Young Chris Chadwest brings out the best in them, “That’s our man right there. When we were on tour with Jay-Z, Chad just had the computer set up on the bus and we would be recording on the road. We did a lot of work while we were out there doing shows. And with Chad, he’s just got so many different sounds that no matter what vibe you’re feeling he can match it with a beat.”
Chadwest provides the tracks to the stomping opening track, “The Knock Is Here,” as well as the absolutely ecstatic summer single, “Don’t Keep Me Waiting (Come Back)” featuring 112, which samples Luther Vandross to dizzying effect.
“That’s our summer jam, man,” says Young Chris. “We wanted it to have that feeling that the great summer songs have. When I was a kid, you know in Philly, obviously the jam was, ‘Summertime,’ by Will Smith, ‘The plateau where everybody go,” So we really wanted to have that feeling with, ‘Don’t Keep Me Waiting.'”
On Brother From Another the Young Gunz are able to effortlessly go from the pop ecstasy of, “Don’t Keep Me Waiting,” to the real talk of, “Same Shit Different Day,” and, “We Still Here,” showing the listener a complete picture of their lives.
“The album is just our everyday life. From the good times to the bad, the struggle and the success, everything is in there. We poured all the experiences we’ve had over the last year into this, and we just tried to shape the record in the same way we live our lives, just as honestly as possible.”
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