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When confronted about his dream collaboration, Yeek hesitates. Travis Scott? I prompt. Hell, Kanye himself? “It’s a hard one,” the singer-songwriter responds. “But I’d go with Plies.” Now 43, the Florida rapper is known, among other hits, for the Akon-featuring, mind-widening — extremely NSFW — smash “Hypnotized.” Despite the pair sharing Fort Myers as a hometown, it’s an odd choice, and yet somehow it suits him. Yeek is anything but traditional. In fact, he’s arrived to push pop music’s boundaries.
We’re sandwiched between Skid Row and Los Angeles’ commercial heart when we meet on an unseasonably sunny California afternoon. It’s this juxtaposition and the general cinematism of the city Yeek claims kept him making music on the West Coast for most of his 20s. After almost a decade of experimentation, Yeek (née Sebastian Carandang) birthed a couple of full-length offerings two years apart, Love Slacker (2015) and the self-titled Sebastian (2017). The latter, which featured the likes of rising rapper, Duckwrth, was sonic autobiography — comparing California and his native-Florida over twangy guitar melodies and distorted drums.
Sebastian not only won the artist industry recognition, but laid the foundation for the new era of Yeek. His latest output IDK Where, features emerging sensations UMI and Dominic Fike, and is by far his most mature. Approaching love and life with a learned resignation, IDK Where sees Yeek lean into the preferred production elements of the 2010s — trap-like beats, intermittent narration — while retaining his trademark melodic minimalism.