You might not expect a man whose given name is Princeton Von Coleman to be a big dude with shoulder-length dreads living out in rural Arkansas. But for that same person to go by the stage name Yuni Wa (short for Yunibasaru Wa, or “Universal Harmony” in Japanese) you get the feeling he’s perhaps not someone you can easily put into a box. Or maybe he’s just living in the future and can’t be bothered with your antiquated expectations.
Having produced a total of 34 albums (not a typo) since his first release on his 17th birthday in 2014, to say that Yuni Wa is prolific is a gross understatement. It’s almost like a new word is needed to describe his creative output. Among his first releases was an album called “Context”, the first in what has become a four-part series culminating with the final edition “Context 4” which just dropped a few weeks ago. The series has been a marker for Yuni Wa’s growth as an artist, on the frontlines of his experimentation with future bass and trap. It’s also been a space for him to flex his creative muscles outside the confines of an album concept.
Produced over a two-year period, “Context 4” is far darker, more abstract, and turbulent than Yuni’s past records. With unambiguous song titles such as “America The Miserable”, “Run Away Slaves”, and “No Place For Me” there’s clearly a lot of pain behind the music. Nevertheless, you’ll find some of the sickest beats you’ll hear anywhere. “Force of Nature” opens innocently with soft, airy, almost flute-like chords with extended jazz voicings. But when the beat drops Yuni flips it on its head, giving us a menacing, deeply distorted G-Funk-esque synth lead over the most insane bass drum figure you’ve ever heard in your whole damn life. It’s worth cranking up to freak out the neighbors.