Brooklyn rapper Young M.A gained breakout success with her four-times Platinum single, “OOOUUU,” granting the 28-year-old lyricist fame and celebrity throughout the music industry for rhyming with captivating wit and heart-melting charm.
Since “OOOUUU,” Young M.A, born Katorah Marrero, has been selective with the music she outputs. The release of her 2019 debut album, Herstory in the Making, came several years later than expected. It’s a well-rounded project that peaked No. 16 on US Billboard Hot 200. Now, eight months later, Young M.A returns with Red Flu, a seven-track EP with no features, produced by Mike Zombie (five songs), Benjamin Lasnier (one song), and NY Bangers (one song).
Once a rapper catches a hit, the looming question around their name will always be: Where’s the next one? Young M.A is back; will she take over the world again? With everyone at home, this is the perfect time for an unexpected comeback.
In usual 1-Listen album review fashion, the rules are the same: no skipping, no fast-forwarding, no rewinding, and no stopping. Each song will receive my gut reaction from start to finish.
Zombie on the Track but without the typical trap sound. I like how full this feels. Young M.A is here, and she’s sliding. The amount of confidence she rhymes with should be packaged and sold like Gatorade. One of the most unbothered flows in all of rap. Boss talk. Young M.A does not have time for your feelings. I love the Dipset/Juelz Santana nod. Santana was one of my favorite rappers from 2005 to 2009. I like how free-flowing “Dripset” is. “Drinking Henny just to numb the pain.” I can see this playing in the background of so many IG and Snapchat stories. “15 niggas deep,” sheesh. I wouldn’t go anywhere with 15 people right now. Good intro. Good beat. Strong writing. I’d run it back.
2. “Quarantine Party”
The build-up sounds like a beat made on a toy xylophone. I like this. Zombie and M.A are an interesting duo. He gave her all the beats that Drake didn’t get after “Started From The Bottom.” M.A is lively, rapping with a lot of charisma. It’s so free-flowing. She’s a natural rhymer. “Quarantine Party” lives up to the title. This is a fun record, but how fun can a quarantine party be? One cough and the whole thing is done. A little Bad Boy homage to close us out. Another good one.
3. “Trap Or Cap”
Subtle keys. All of Zombie’s beats build up nicely. I like M.A’s lax nature. She’s in no rush to start rapping. Oh, this has bite; this is a rap rant. “Chasing cheese, I’m out here chasing green, you either trap or die.” She’s talking that talk. Young M.A said you either trapping or capping, one or the other. I like how every word is precise; she came to preach. Someone get Rick Ross and Jeezy on “Trap Or Cap” for a remix. Also, tell Jeezy we need BMF raps only. Keeper.
4. “Angel vs Demons”
So far, so good. All the songs have been strong. “I’m back to my habits, back to my ways.” “Angel vs Demons” sounds like an AM/PM freestyle. This is good. Not in love with the singing, but the lyricism is self-reflective and has a lot of heart. “Call me a bitch all you want, just know that bitch in charge.” Big rapper talk! It’s nice to hear her so sure of herself. Maintaining confidence will make or break a rapper. You can always hear the sound of shattered confidence. Young M.A doesn’t have a scratch on her armor.
5. “Savage Mode”
“Savage Mode” is bursting with energy. More stream-of-consciousness rap. Whoever mixed this EP did a good job, it’s a cleaner mix than her debut. There’s a clarity to her lyricism that I appreciate. With so many squeaky voices in rap, it’s easy to forget the importance of enunciation. “Credit is fixed now, money we flip now.” Young M.A said she ain’t going back to broke, and she sounds like it. Keeper.
6. “Bad Bitch Anthem”
The hit has arrived. Zombie’s price just went up. It’s a wrap. “Bad Bitch Anthem” is formulated to be everywhere. TikTok, IG, Twitter, wherever. If she put Megan Thee Stallion on the remix, she’ll have them twerking on Mars. It’s been a solid year for women anthems. Make sure Lana Del Rey doesn’t find out about this one.
7. “2020 Vision”
“The plan is to triple my cash and shit on my past.” That is the new American Dream. The rapping here is sharp. She is a giant. Young M.A raps like she steps on people for fun. Her and Rico Nasty would make a dangerous duo. “2020 Vision” is a good song. Strong from start to finish.
Final (First Listen) Thoughts on Young M.A’s Red Flu
Young M.A’s Red Flu is an ideal offering from the Brooklyn rap star. She keeps the songs short, but attention-grabbing. Lyrically, she’s still witty and charming, but there’s a maturity to M.A now. She lives like a boss and raps like a boss, too. Every line is either reflecting on how her life changed, what she doesn’t have time for, or what she’s working toward.
The Young M.A who appears on Red Flu reminds me of Rick Ross and how he was able to mold his confidence and charisma into a Teflon persona. After the release of his second album, Rick Ross made you feel like no one could stop him, and that’s what Red Flu represents for Young M.A.
Red Flu is about the feeling of being unstoppable. Pandemic or not, Young M.A is on top.