Most mentions of Yung Gravy instantly elicit a joking reaction. The 26-year-old rapper is often associated with his TikTok fame or, more recently, with his VMA Red Carpet appearance with Addison Rae’s mother, Sheri Easterling. Since his 2017 breakthrough hit on SoundCloud, “Mr. Clean,” Yung Gravy has risen to international fame, but as portrayed on his newest album, Marvelous, he’s kept the primary mission of his music simple: to have fun.
Released Oct. 28, the album stays consistent to Yung Gravy’s distinctive style by coupling electronic beats with the occasional sampling of soul and oldies music. His lyrics remain focused on three key themes: his romantic endeavors, his personal success and his go-with-the-flow approach to life. In most of the songs, these ideas come across almost as a stream of consciousness. It’s safe to say that a close listen to the album won’t drastically alter your worldview — if anything, you may be better off if you choose to not think too deeply about the messages being conveyed. Simply enjoy the beats instead.
Despite telling audiences to “prepare yourselves for something real, real marvelous,” at the start of the album’s opening track, “Isn’t It Just Marvelous?,” Yung Gravy’s relatively monotone rapping is dragged further down by somewhat uninspired beats. The second track, “Soiree!,” switches things up by opening with a classical piano solo, and “Sugar Mama (with IshDARR)” changes the vibe yet again with a disco tune. Both tracks, however, proceed to tie in so many different genres that listeners feel a bit bamboozled.
Eventually, the album’s lackluster first five songs give way to “Betty (Get Money),” the single that was deservingly the first of Yung Gravy’s songs to land on Billboard’s Hot 100 list back in June. The song opens with a cut of Rick Astley’s iconic 1987 hit, “Never Gonna Give You Up,” then quickly turns a corner to provide listeners a sneak peek into Yung Gravy’s inner psyche with lyrics such as, “Never take an L no more / Never take a damn thing slow.” Astley’s electronic dance beat remains in the background throughout the song, leaving the tune stuck in your head long after it ends.
Other standout tracks on the album are those which sample oldies and were produced in collaboration with artists such as bbno$, TrippythaKid, T-Pain and Dillon Francis. Both “C’est La Vie (with bbno$ & Rich Brian)” and “Steppin On The Beat (with TrippythaKid)” play around with call-and-response lyricism between Gravy and his collaborators, adding a level of dynamism that is too often missing in other tracks.
It’s difficult to come away from listening to the full 40 minutes of Marvelous without falling into the boat of people who consider Yung Gravy to be a “meme rapper.” Yung Gravy’s uncensored thoughts and unusual genre blends create a special space purely for self-expression. As expressed in a 2022 interview with MTV News, Yung Gravy puts the music first, and then just has fun with it. At the end of the day, he says it’s all about being happy, expressing yourself and escaping all the negativity in the world for a little while.
Simply put, Marvelous is not for everyone. Yet, if you’re a fan of Yung Gravy just for the bit, are excited about an eclectic mix of styles, or simply want to blast music and escape with monotonous lyricism, it may be worth a listen or two.