The WHY?/Lala Lala Bond Is So Pure

With the release of the two groups’ first collaborative recording, the recent tour mates take their already-public friendship to the next level.

You know how zoos always have those exhibits where the gorillas cohabitate with a rabbit because, for whatever reason, they’ve become inseparable friends? This appears to be the case with Yoni Wolf and Lillie West—the former a proto-SoundCloud rapper whose Cincinnati-based bedroom recordings as WHY? date back to 1999, eventually evolving into a full band that includes his big brother Josiah; the latter the leader of Lala Lala, who’ve recently surfaced from Chicago’s underground with the success of last fall’s phenomenal sophomore LP, The Lamb. West was also a self-proclaimed WHY? superfan long before she ever even picked up a guitar.

As a six-foot white man with bad eyesight, patchy facial hair, and an undergraduate degree in English literature, it’s always an obligation for me to be at the WHY? show. But this most recent tour was the first I’d been to where the opener wasn’t in some way associated with Anticon or any number of adjacent experimental hip-hop troupes that have sprung up since the collective hit the scene. Even though Yoni still raps sometimes, the lush-as-sin production of both artists’ recent output suggests more than enough overlap for the extensive U.S. tour they recently wrapped up (“The Lamb and Wolfs Exhibit,” as it probably should have been billed), incidentally providing fans with a surplus of playful social-mediated tour diary entries.

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The latest and as-yet most official entry is a collaborative track the songwriters co-wrote, which, today, is being ushered into the world in an MP4 format. “Siren 042,” like Yoni’s recent collaborative album with shapeshifting rapper Serengeti, sees Wolf’s familiar production and backing vocals meld seamlessly with West’s soft vocal delivery and pristine guitar tones. The accompanying video features the duo running in nearly matching black-hoodie-under-light-jacket ensembles for three minutes, which is also pretty cool and certainly relatable to anyone who likes to run but doesn’t own any running clothes and can only go for a run when they’re with someone else who isn’t wearing running clothes so as not to concern passers-by.

Anyway, the song is cool as shit, and you can check out the video below. The single will see an official release tomorrow via Joyful Noise. FL


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