According to some, Young Slo-Be had two major influences. One is Bris, the Sacramento rapper. The other is Drakeo The Ruler, the figurehead of Los Angeles' new rap. When noticing such similarities, though, no-one anticipated that these three guys would share a common fate. Bris, indeed, was shot down in 2020. One year later, Drakeo was stabbed to death. And eventually, in 2022, at 29, Young Slo-Be was murdered as well. Such has started the new decade in California: with the murder of its most promising rappers.
This is all the most striking, that death stroke Young Slo-Be at the top of his game. Over the prior years, the Stockton man recorded some remarkable albums, like the Slo-Be Bryant series, and Red Mamba. But the ultimate one, he released just a few months before dying, is particularly strong.
Southeast is, like the others, a long dive into the wild streets of Stockton, that the rapper both curses and celebrates. This is some suffocating music, with disturbing details such as ethereal samples, distant bells, and the barks of some dogs – rottweilers, according to "HoodStar". And there, people remain among themselves: this is the NorCal family, with neighbors from the Bay Area (Daboii), Sacramento (Mac J, Bris, Freeway Donny…) and a few pals from the EBK click.
But Young Slo-Be is at his very best. He masters his formula made of pauses, silences, muffled sounds, threatening murmurs, and a few layers of synth ("Thugg Konversation"), organ ("Ricky") and guitar ("Trippin On U"). "Muscle", "Push Thru" and "Hectik" for example, each in its own way, leverage feminine voices that are another trick from the rapper.
Young Slo-Be also appropriates a mainstream hit single, Ginuwine's "Pony", as he'd done it in the past with Mariah Carey's "Circles" with his most famous song, "I Love You".
And of course, there's the ultimate track of this ultimate album. With its unexpectedly joyous sample, "Don't Kome 2 My Funeral" is all the most striking, that it is prophetic. That single, the last one Young Slo-Be shot a video for, anticipates his death. It is a farewell letter, where the rapper talks about his regrets, and that is a tribute to those who really mattered in his life, more particularly his pals the thugs.
With such a song, and this album he dedicated to a world he would never escape – the Nightingale Avenue surroundings, in the southeast of Stockton - Young Slo-Be, and that's some cold comfort, delivered a perfect musical testament.