Album Review | Y*O*U*N*G*M*A*N & Celestaphone – A YEAR OF OCTOBERS

This album was released on August 20th this year. YOUNGMAN is the alter-ego of MC Paul Barman, who released one of my favorite albums of 2018 with (((echo chamber))). He’s released a handful of loose singles since then, and all of them have been awesome, so I’ve become a pretty big fan of him. I’m also a fan of Celestaphone, who released one of my favorite albums of 2020 with Weevil in Disguise. I think both Paul Barman & Celestaphone are two super skilled musicians, so I’m actually expecting this to be one of the best albums of the year.

There aren’t any songs that I don’t like on this album, so I’ll write about the full thing in the proper order of the tracklist. The album begins with the title track, which has a pretty cinematic intro. I think the melodic beat that eventually comes in is fucking amazing to be honest. Celestaphone killed this track. YOUNGMAN’s rhymes are of course on point as well.

YOUNGMAN in the building like landlord with squatters’ rights
May've fooled me once with small print, but not tonight
Caught a flight, zing pow! Right in the kisser
Saw the light, source of the myster-y
I keep fighting misery but it’s got me surrounded
My favorite quarantine joke: “You’re grounded!”
I'm the Bad Bunny of dad jokes
Compounded by inflexible honesty and radical hope
Laugh every night, don’t sleep on sad notes
But when I hit lab, all y'all say “that’s dope”

The first verse is dope as hell, and the saxophone that comes in for the hook is a really nice touch. I can’t really decide what I’m more impressed by between the rapping and the production.

YOUNGMAN a huge kid who loves to get stupid on rude big music
My lady's a dresser for maybe lesser known Baby Esther Jones
God bless her tone and yes her clones
DJ Celestaphone's triple decker decks look like a waxburger
Records he selects hit like an axe murder

I just love the way MCPB puts rhymes together. For me, his writing is almost as fun to read as it is to listen to.

Cross between Decalogue, Triumph the Comic Dog
Promised God I'd flog whoever piloted the Amistad
Thousand yard stare, brows frown in hard care
Nose flairs, eyes squint, head crowds with grey hair
20 years ahead for 20 years
Let’s get friendly cheers before we drown in enemies’ tears
A toast clink to some kind of ghost thing
Left as a person, returned in a closed ring

The song is dope af. I love everything about it. It’s followed by 13th Month, which is another really great track. The production from Celestaphone is really detailed; it sounds like something that should be performed by a full band. This is the shortest song on the album, but it doesn’t sound incomplete or anything. Once again, the rapping from YOUNGMAN is superlative.

Im not scared of a polio virus
But still search for a vaccine for Itoldyouso-itis
Roll up your sleeves I adhere to older beliefs
And challenge ya according to Gregorian calendar

I think the song is really dope. Track 3 is entitled GUILLOTINE, and it features an appearance from the real MC Paul Barman. I love his relatively aggressive delivery. He’s basically yelling each bar, and it sounds great. He killed the first verse, and I even like the hook on this track. I think the beat from Celestaphone is even better than that of the preceding track. There’s a lot going on, so you never really have time to get bored of anything. The song is dope as hell. Track 4 is called HUMAN RIGHTS, and it begins with a great verse from billy woods of all people. You know, I really never thought I’d hear billy woods over a Celestaphone beat, but I’m so glad I did. This track is awesome.

Chords broke the Les Paul
Neck crack, still float dead hard
Kick drum dead leg bent bars
The bassline black metal, the devil get involved
Hate crimes with effect pedals, the love just dissolved
Or distorted, maybe it was never love at all
Still get the band back together, one more tour

His verse is great, and the production is top notch. He actually spits kind of a melodic hook on this track, which I wasn’t expecting. It sounds awesome though. YOUNGMAN killed this shit too. His verse is fire.

One more tour get the band back together
Youngcore, Woods back, handsome as ever
At this level it’s not about formal ability
It’s about normally chilly hearts warm filled nobility

The song is dope as hell. Track 5 is a single called IF I GOT IT YOU GOT IT, which I covered last year in one of my Best Singles of the Week posts.

MC Paul Barman released one of my favorite albums of 2018, so I was pretty excited when I saw that he was releasing music this week. When I was still going through my psychotic episode in 2018, I had the chance to interview him. Obviously due to my illness, the interview ended up being terrible. My biggest regret about that interview—aside from the fact that it happened—is that I didn’t even consider asking him about his Y*O*U*N*G*M*A*N persona. I don’t know why that didn’t cross my mind at the time. I really dropped the ball in that interview lol. Anyway, Celestaphone’s production here is really fucking cool. It kinda sounds like something I’d hear in an old video game, except more detailed. Of course the verses on this song are loaded with super dense and clever rhymes.

Put up a pyramid on Pitkin, up under the projects
Painting proper proportions, Phi progression of objects
51 degrees, 52 feet if you’re so inclined
Refined my designs with shines & in-lines
Please bear in mind, this style has been mines
Passed on from predecessors in golden olden times

If I was an MC, listening to artists like this would make me want to quit. Saying that he’s far above average when it comes to rhyming seems like an understatement.

Y’all muhtruckas didn’t heed my warnings
E’ry 3, 4 mornings you need more chlorine
‘Cause of the gems I drop on brainstems
But there’s too much toxicity to listen to them

I love this shit. It’s dope af. Don’t sleep on it.

Track 6 is entitled Yes. I love the really melodic, exotic-sounding production here, and of course YOUNGMAN’s rhymes are fantastic. I’m probably gonna sound like a broken record throughout most of this review, but that’s just because the album’s so consistent. Every track is filled with ingenious rhymes and groovy beats.

The good bad and the ugly, hood grad will still study
Stood sad in the sudsy, froth from rain up above me
But when hounded by stressin', find me countin my blessin'
Good health, sound mind for now compound investment

Once again, I don’t know what I’m more impressed by between the production and the rapping.

Lotta whipper snappers look for father figures
At ends of cigarettes and in bottles of liquor
'Cause the ones givin' 'em game were driven insane
By livin' the same every day, punching walls 'til their fist hurts

I think the song is dope as hell. It’s followed by another single that I covered in the past entitled Inspired.

Breh, CELESTAPHONE IS A FUCKING BEAST WITH THESE BEATS. I fucking love how weird and glitchy the production here is. Everything about this song is phenomenal to me. This is Hip Hop on steroids. Everything about it is perfect. Even the fucking single art is gorgeous. Paul Barman is an elite level MC, so you already know every verse from him is gonna be a showstopper.

Check, check, mic check, projects still practice
Regardless polish excellence or guest access
Big breasted lips do backflips and
Beats are the best, kid, since villain hit Madlib’s
First dibs on dabs that make Rastas go batshit
But brags bad for karma or oneness committed to
Let’s choose positivity, love kid in you

One of my good friends once stated that he raps like a mad scientist, and I totally see it. He sounds like some manic perfectionist who obsesses over poetry and rhymes all day and only ever focuses on language. I love it. This song is fire.

Track 8 is entitled Medically Induced Coma. This track didn’t blow me away as much as most of the other tracks, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit. The production is pretty nice, and YOUNGMAN’s rapping is great. He rhymed “oval disc” with “socialist.” The song is really dope. It’s followed by No, which I kinda view as a companion to Yes. Kinda like how Kendrick had both u and i on To Pimp a Butterfly. Anyway, No has one of my favorite beats on the album. I think it’s pretty amazing. YOUNGMAN’s rapping is of course really fucking impressive.

When I get riled up eyes dilate, dialed up, wild child erupt
Third eyes open words wise dope enough to lift styles up
Each line a new car in a pile up a mile high up
So don’t pump your breaks for fuck's sake, rise up

I think it’s one of the best songs on the album to be honest. It’s definitely gonna be a strong contender for my favorite track. It’s followed by another single that I’ve already written about called ALL IN A DAY’S WORK.

If the previous track somehow didn’t impress you, this one definitely will. Once again, the production sounds like something from an old Nintendo game, but in a good way. Y*O*U*N*G*M*A*N’s flow here is crazy too. I can barely get through a regular sentence in real life without stuttering and stumbling through my words like Joe Biden, so to hear him speed through these rhymes like this is truly awe-inspiring.

Speedbag sound like paradiddles
Bury your middle in a babbling brook full of carrion
Ask Maid Marian to play a pair of Arab fiddles
Gotta start somewhere
From Zuccotti Park to Tiananmen Square
You gotta be a preeminent nothing
To ignore it’s the end of an er-a
As the pendulum swings
Even my friends are scared of
The better world they can’t imagine

The song is divided into three different segments: morning, evening, and night. It’s amazing. The way the beat switched up for evening was awesome.

The grass is always greener on the other side of my massive wiener
Where you’ll find a classic piece of ass, meaner than Catherine Keener

Y*O*U*N*G*M*A*N fucking slaughtered this shit. I love it. It’s even better than the preceding track. I have no gripes with it at all.

The penultimate song is entitled GALACTIC LUV. I really love the melodic production, and the lyrics from YOUNGMAN about having a really big heart are really endearing.

I got a type of love everyone’s supposed to have
But gets beat the fuck out 'em when they hold back a laugh
They're taught that to survive life they got to hold back
I got love most people I know lack
I love you like crazy, call it sappy if you want
We all from levant, and you deserve love whether or not rap savant

I wouldn’t really say that this song is a highlight for me on the album, but it’s far from a dud. I think it’s pretty dope. However, the final track on the album is a major highlight for me. It’s called PEAK BOSS, and it’s got one of the prettiest beats on the whole album. I really love the way this song is structured too. The whole thing is pretty much just one long verse from YOUNGMAN, and he rhymed his ass off.

Ouch, picking teeth out my knuckles
Luck of the draw, stuck in your craw, chuckin' your jaw
In the glass recycling receptacle
Good thing I’m ya favorite uncle 'cause I’m your only uncle
And I cling to life like a barnacle on a carbuncle
I had to look that up, it’s kinda gross
And when it’s time for you to marry I’ll give the finest toast
Mofos think they rhyme the best, they just rhyme the most
Knocking on my door I’m like "read the sign, it’s closed"
Vagina flows, designer clothes
Metaphor for pedicure paint yours nails and shine your toes
Why your chromosomes intertwined with hoes?
I don’t always wanna ride a flow

I don’t know how I’m gonna choose a favorite track from this album because there are too many highlights. I think this was a great way to end the album. They really went out with a bang. The song is dope af.

I think this album is amazing. Celestaphone’s dynamic, layered, detailed production is phenomenal, and YOUNGMAN’s whole existence is just further proof that MC Paul Barman is one of the best writers in Hip Hop right now. I think they’re a perfect duo honestly. They really fit each other’s styles well. The beats are weird as hell, and YOUNGMAN’s approach to rhyming is pretty unique. This is easily one of the best albums I’ve heard all year. It’s been a while since I’ve had this much trouble choosing a favorite song from an album. I think it’s dope af.

Favorite Song: No
Least Favorite Song: Medically Induced Coma


Grade: A

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