Young Dynasty Pulls No Punches In “Above The Hate”
Even though AAPI Heritage Month is over, the fight for equity and justice continues. A few weeks ago, Bay Area rapper Young Dynasty released his third single, “Above The Hate.” The single is a sharp and forthright track, one that combines personal experiences and social commentary with an encouraging message for the Asian American community.
Young Dynasty takes on Asian stereotypes in the first verse, drawing on experiences and interests, such as school lunchtimes and basketball, to address harmful stereotypes towards Asians: “Now I’m hopping on the tracks, they notice I’m onto something / Their expressions ain’t changed since elementary when I pulled out my lunches.” Growing up, Dynasty recalls how other students would make a “stank face” when he pulled out his lunches because it smelled different. He turns that experience on its head now to refer to the fact that people make the same face around him – except it’s now because he raps well.
Another line that stands out in this verse has to do with veteran basketball player Jeremy Lin and how Lin was called “deceptively quick” by media, a racist comment based on assumptions about Asian athletes. Young Dynasty alludes to a basketball term about being defended by another player – “being covered” – and subverts those words to deliver a punch line on how the media doesn’t cover anti-Asian hate crimes: “I just focused on the game and made it rain with the buckets / Moved deceptively quick I wasn’t covered just like Asian injustice.”
In the second verse, Young Dynasty turns his gaze to the future and reminds the Asian American community that they can overcome the challenges they’re facing because they’ve done so many times in the past. He refers to the history of Asian people in America, harking back to the days when Chinese people were forced to build railroads, and how Asian people were eventually able to create their own lanes: “Start with railroad tracks and now the rap game gotta break into / We made our own lanes now we got several different ways to move.” As someone who creates his own tracks as an artist, Young Dynasty ties his ambitions to the history of Asian America.
“Above The Hate” is a poignant and eloquent track that combines social commentary with bars that pull no punches. If you’re looking for vibrant lines with a flow that will make you stank face, “Above The Hate” is your beat.
Johan Qin is a writer based in Northern California. He is also a musician, artist, and avid fan of Asian pop music.