[Single Review] Youi – ‘Signorita’

Review by Vince Leigh

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This track from Canadian-born Australian rap and hip-hop artist Youi is a bold attempt to blend trap style elements with Latin-infused pop and hip-hop.

Its sparse production only adds to this exploratory endeavour, giving Youi’s voice and rhymes the space in which to move from brazen but good-natured charmer to ardent admirer attempting to win over an obsession with heartfelt candour.

The genre has come into its own in this country, with many homegrown acts having released material of notable international standard for a while now—and this track is no exception. However, its focus seems less local for some reason, as though Youi has taken his cues from some of his childhood inspirations such as Eminem, 50 Cent and Lil Wayne, with whom, despite the apparent differences, he shares a few characteristics, the strongest of these perhaps the subject matter.

And although Youi’s concerns on this release might not include as pertinent a subject as social disparity, youth angst or any other contentious current topic, there remains a sense that what underscores his audacious brand of artistry is a kick against the perceived fragile nature of inequality in this age, especially those related to relationships.

Youi’s tongue in cheek method of performance allows him to transform his material into an acceptable and entertaining amalgamation, and it’s perhaps the ‘pop’ or more melodic aspects of this record which allows him to do this. These characteristics are evident in the bite-sized hooks scattered throughout the song, all the ‘wows’ and ‘whoops’ and ‘ayyys’, and the baiting opening line of the chorus, whose adoption reflects a global sensibility if not a sedulous, enterprising act of resourcefulness on Youi’s part.

There are strains of US rap pop here, for sure, a little Drake, a little Quavo, and these flirtations are highly effective to a degree, blending with Youi’s natural, differentiating features to create an interesting mix. It’s Australian rap-pop with a patina of the Latin, US grown variety colouring it in moderate amounts but it stands on its own as a respectable advancement towards future commercial success.

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