16 Songs, 41 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

One of the most striking rap singles of the 2010s, Yungeen Ace’s “Pain” ripped the bandages off of wounds both physical and emotional. That mix of confessional and deeply personal bars made subsequent projects like Life of Betrayal and Life I’m Livin truly gripping listening material. Informed by a 2018 drive-by shooting that claimed his brother and left him the sole survivor, Step Harder sees the Jacksonville rapper attempt to reconcile a life of agony with the commercial successes that have come from channeling that in his art. “Come Get Me” takes this grim paradox head-on with rays of light shining through, while “Bando” doles out gut punches via its honest hook. Thankfully not in this alone, he finds kindred spirits in the game, not the least of which being Boosie Badazz on the standout “Up With Who.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

One of the most striking rap singles of the 2010s, Yungeen Ace’s “Pain” ripped the bandages off of wounds both physical and emotional. That mix of confessional and deeply personal bars made subsequent projects like Life of Betrayal and Life I’m Livin truly gripping listening material. Informed by a 2018 drive-by shooting that claimed his brother and left him the sole survivor, Step Harder sees the Jacksonville rapper attempt to reconcile a life of agony with the commercial successes that have come from channeling that in his art. “Come Get Me” takes this grim paradox head-on with rays of light shining through, while “Bando” doles out gut punches via its honest hook. Thankfully not in this alone, he finds kindred spirits in the game, not the least of which being Boosie Badazz on the standout “Up With Who.”

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