Since his latest full length album Chrysalis dropped this past August, rapper AP YCM has formed a business and creative collective to not only support his career, but like-minded local talent. Named 5L4L, AP YCM’s handpicked roster of prospective artists and creatives in Buffalo emulates the youthful energy, sound and effort of Rap’s SoundCloud era. With blinged out 1 of 1 merch, a devoted fan base, and impressively productive creative team, AP YCM is not only proving himself as a Rap rock star, but emerging businessman.
“I’m lucky that I found this sort of alternative sound and shit because it’s accepted by a lot more different genres…that have different fan groups,” AP mentioned.
A quick listen to AP’s new single “Countin’ Up,” displays the experimental approach the rising artist continues to develop in his music. An integration of Rock and Rap elements, the just over 2-minute track highlights AP’s somber auto tune vocals, and rather minimal, yet audacious production value; a recognizable feature in much of his music. Unifying many different demographics in the Queen City, AP’s sound and image is not only unique, but represents the current cultural shift Buffalo is experiencing. Similar to AP, local artists like Dripstarr, $hortcakke, Freak The Miighty and Spacebound are younger, genre-bending artists that are developing their own sound and artistic ecosystem outside the traditional music community.
“I have friends like all over the country that make music…but in no one else’s city do they really have the type of scene and community that we have here- the way that people be putting on shows and having pop-ups and events in the summer. This summer was kinda thrown back because of Covid…but that’s what Buffalo has really going for it,” explained AP.
The success of Alec Paul, a.k.a AP ‘s career so far is his involvement in the live show circuit. Performing at local venues for the last 4 years, the rising rapper has been able to build so much of a strong buzz that he’s extended his reach beyond the Queen City. Opening for headlining artists like Lil Tjay, Jay Critch and Shoreline Mafia, AP’s well-connected and vast fan base in Buffalo reflects his distinct sound and message.
“I like always was really prideful on my music tastes. I was always finding artists on SoundCloud and Spinrilla, and like I was always listening to underground artists. I would refuse to listen to artists when they became mainstream. Even like Uzi,” mentioned AP.
Developing his identity as a rapper in High School, whilst an avid listener on Sound Cloud are major reasons why AP’s sound is popular. Inspired by underground artists on the internet, the rising rapper’s approach to music is unconventional. Defying the confines of traditional Hip-Hop production, AP YCM’s music is filled with stark soundscapes. Heavy 808’s and bass, brisk synths and memorable strings that are either very resonant or very minimal, AP’s sound lends itself to dip into other genres. Often integrating Rock progressions and melodies into his music, the rising artist’s narrative on projects are moody. With much of the content on his albums revolving around relationships, mental health, and heartbreak, AP’s intensity in his music deeply relates to young people.
It’s also important to mention AP’s best friend Kevin, a.k.a Dripstarr is an integral part of AP’s sound. One of his earliest friends and supporters, Dripstarr was apart of AP’s short-lived rap group Mindset, and a consistent collaborator (Dripstarr is featured on almost every song on AP’s first album M365) when he started performing. Creating a lot of music together, the chemistry between AP and Dripstarr brought an attractive youthful energy to the local Hip-Hop community and furthered the rising artist’s buzz.
With thats said, AP quickly gained the attention of rising artist King Midas (also known as King Loot). King Midas, who leads the local creative collective Young Creative Minds (also known as YCM) assisted AP in further developing his artistry as a rapper and eventually added AP to his group. Going as AP YCM to signify his association with YCM for the last few years, AP has been able to expand an impressive network of fans and friends locally and internationally.
“I’m lucky enough to have an amazing team, the people I work with, but I’ve also been working my ass off to get to this point too, and we all still are,” AP mentioned.
With a buzzing reputation and 3 solid project under his belt, AP YCM has also battled the highs and lows. Briefly mentioning that he was in rehab for a few months late last year, AP has stayed consistent when it comes to his career. Dropping a series of singles this past Spring and 2 projects this past Summer, the rising artist has used time in the interim to build his recently publicized creative team 5L4L. Made up of Zaywop, DayDay Beats, DB Felix, Asap Britty, Dajoun Cartwright, Mike Swain and Austin Alko, AP’s goal with 5L4L is to keep the communal engagement between fans going with a group of accessible, collaborative talent in his camp. With the resurgence of Covid cases particularly in Western New York and resulting public restrictions, 5L4L has continued their social momentum online. Dropping a website, releasing exclusive, custom-made merchandise and a Vlog series, 5L4L is making impressive moves thanks to AP YCM’s leadership.
With plans to tour Europe next year and work with Benny The Butcher, AP YCM and 5L4L has all the makings for stardom; It’s just a matter of time.
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