Nothing comes easy for Yungeen Ace, but he perseveres regardless.
In the beginning of the Jacksonville rapper’s video for “So Long”, we watch as the personification of an evil force comes to Earth. The figure whispers a cruel message to a downtrodden Ace, then follows him through turmoil in the ring. By the end of the clip, we understand that the figure may not have been a concrete enemy. That would be too easy. The stand-in represents a larger and more difficult darkness to overcome.
Less than a year ago Yungeen Ace took eight bullets while shielding his friends — three of whom died — and has experienced poverty and loss the likes of which are unmatched by most other twenty-one year olds. His music is not cathartic, there is no easy option of relief to be found here, but it is audibly passionate. Soul laid bare.
On “So Long”, a heavy piano riff pulls you in and the urgent — though not frantic — delivery of the verses won’t let you go. Hints of gospel and blues lend a smoothness to the melody, which plays steady against the shifting lyrical pace.
The clip plays with themes of reality and conflict: even the metaphors are rooted in concreteness and violence. Yungeen Ace takes hits and falls but pushes himself onward. At the end we see him in a clean white shirt, checking on the marks that remind him of what he has come from. It’s a piece of his story, just as it is a taste of what is still to come from the artist.