Judging by Yung Fern’s new seven-track EP Weekend at Fernie’s, we’re all goners. Laced with haunting instrumentals and rebellious rhymes, the latest from this member of Tacoma’s Boiler Boyz collective paints a dystopic picture of a civilization that he feels cannot be saved. It’s an almost nihilistic social critique, but a critique nonetheless.
“I aim for social commentary in my lyrics,” says Fern. “I like to talk about the stuff I grew up around and was exposed to at an early age. So my music definitely has an aggressive conscious-rap feel.” This feel, represented in often-violent lyrics delivered in his distinctive monotone, places Fern firmly in the new wave of Tacoma hip-hop. The project includes guest appearances from many of his fellow Tacoma artists, including ILLFIGHTYOU’s Khris P, who shows up on the track “FUCKYOUDIE,” an anti-anthem in which they contend that everyone is lame. The record, however, is anything but.
Listening to Weekend at Fernie’s is reminiscent of walking through a spooky funhouse in a slasher flick: It’s dark and creepy, but you keep walking because you’re itching to see what’s next. Fern’s lyrics jump from the shadows, offering insightful social perspective and confessing personal indiscretions that place him in league with the tainted souls inhabiting society.
The project is fueled by sinister beats from fellow Boiler Boy Ghoulavelii, whose amazing instrumentals play like a trap horror show. “Suffer,” for instance, opens with a shrieking beat before Fern blasts in for a quick verse promising violence to his opposition. In “Kochei,” Fern expands on his dim worldview, telling the listener that “nobody seems to change in this world made of ice.” With the rest of humanity beyond salvation, Fern turns the focus on himself. He admits that he continues to stack his vices and prays for a gun to snatch another purse.
It doesn’t end there. Fern’s grim views on the worldly human experience—delivered on album and in person—also extend into the afterlife. “If there is a God and there is heaven, then heaven must be empty because the world is full of bad shit,” Fern tells me. “All the crazy stuff I saw as a kid made me feel like no one was safe. Everyone has evil tendencies that will come out at some point.”
Listen to Weekend at Fernie’s at yungfern.bandcamp.com.