Wonderland.

B YOUNG

Meet the cross-culture referencing rapper bringing the sun to East London and beyond.

BYOUNG WONDERLAND FRONT ON

Tracksuit ASTRID ANDERSEN, coat BAND OF OUTSIDERS, vest NICCE

BYOUNG WONDERLAND FRONT ON
Tracksuit ASTRID ANDERSEN, coat BAND OF OUTSIDERS, vest NICCE

Taken from the Summer 2019 issue of Wonderland. Order your copy of the issue now.

It’s not often that you’re on set with a musician, and they aren’t getting the most attention in the room. When I meet B Young in a Hackney studio, however, it’s not the 24-year-old East London native who steals the show, but his one-year-old nephew, who tumbles around joyously, constantly pointing to the speaker, and one-finger skanking to the drill and grime being played as the shoot takes place.

Music clearly runs in the family of the rapper who’s commanded the UK scene via his London-centric hip hop piqued with afrobeats. “Growing up, there was a lot of music around me: my dad’s an audiophile, and mum as well, she sings a lot… There was a lot of funk, and a lot of Turkish music as well. A mix really.” The soundtrack of his upbringing rubbed off on the chameleonic B, absorbing his evolving sonic surroundings. “The sound of the UK always changes,” he explains, “and whatever’s playing at that moment, you’re into, and you want to vibe to that kind of beat.”

BYOUNG WONDERLAND LAUGHING

All clothing NICCE

BYOUNG WONDERLAND LAUGHING
All clothing NICCE

While some artists have been criticised for leaning a bit too heavily on other cultures, B’s clear he wants to rework his inspirations with respect. “I put my own little twists on it,” he says, “I’ve been doing different styles of music my whole life, but I add my little flavour to it.” Being born and raised in Hackney was certainly influential in his striving towards musical versatility; exposed to a litany of cultures, he grew up with friends from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, and London’s multiculturalism offered endless education.

“Jumanji”, his debut single, peaked at number 13 in the UK charts (and since has gone platinum), but it isn’t just the chart positioning of the song that has stuck with B. A true ear-worm, the upbeat summer banger found its way onto every sound system in London for a time. “When we had the final product, we knew it was gonna do sick, because it was working,” he reminisces fondly. “But to see it on TV and radio — it was on the radio literally every minute — everyone was telling me it was getting annoying! […] There was an Uber driver who was in shock – he phoned his wife and said: ‘I can’t believe I’m in a car with a famous person!’” His brother and manager chimes in to add that people got married to “Jumanji”.

BYOUNG WONDERLAND LOOKING DOWN

Tracksuit ASTRID ANDERSEN, coat BAND OF OUTSIDERS, vest NICCE, jewellery B YOUNG’S OWN

BYOUNG WONDERLAND LOOKING DOWN
Tracksuit ASTRID ANDERSEN, coat BAND OF OUTSIDERS, vest NICCE, jewellery B YOUNG’S OWN

B’s new song, “Gucci Demon”, is pinned to drop in June, alongside some sleek visuals directed by the singer himself. Adding another medium to his assets, from sound systems to screens, B Young’s about to become even more unavoidable.

Photography
Christina Ebenezer
Fashion
Kamran Rajput
Words
Francesco Loy Bell
Grooming
Nora Orthofer using Kryolan and Got2b
Production
Federica Barletta
Fashion Assistant
Harry Crum
Special Thanks
Indra Studio
B YOUNG