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Young Don
Weatherman 3 Denzil Bell , October 5th, 2021 08:37

Tales of life inside and out from the Brixton-born MC, son of the legendary Smiley Culture

Born in Brixton and raised in West Norwood, Young Don became a product of his deprived South London environment. He ended up doing three years for bank robbery and after he came out at nineteen, the streets were still pulling him back in. But he also grew up with a musical background, the son of the legendary British reggae artist, Smiley Culture. That he’s the only UK rapper to have DJ Khaled host his mixtape (Weatherman 2) and have iconic Atlanta rapper, Gucci Mane, feature on ‘I’m About This Life’, is not a total surprise.

For his latest mixtape, Weatherman 3, hosted by DJ Drama, he utilises his musical pull once again, as Stefflon Don, K-Trap, Rimzee, Youngs Teflon, C Montana, and Vory all add tasty layers to the Weatherman cake. The release completes a trilogy, each instalment describing a different part of the journey. The Weatherman tells the story of Young Don making a lot of money from selling drugs and “making it rain” with British notes; Weatherman 2 encapsulates him going global and making moves in America, and Weatherman 3 is a tale of the consequences of his criminal escapades, as he spent two of the eight years between Weatherman 2 and Weatherman 3 back in prison.

The trap themes are highlighted on songs like ‘The Playoffs’, ‘The Come Up’, and ‘No Cap Rap’, where he uses soul-pulling keys and spacey 808s to rap about how he was “fresh out the T house and really living”. But as we’ve seen with this negative lifestyle many times over, it only really ends with death or prison. And it’s when he talks about the latter that the tape starts to come to life. On the track ‘hmp’, he really paints a picture of the ills of prison life, speaking on how, when pipes weren’t working, he had to sit in his cell freezing, and how he was limited to only a couple of showers a week.

Then there’s the outro, which he uses to talk about the tragic loss of his father, who died through a suspected suicide during a police raid. We really feel Young Don’s emotions spilling over the somber instrumental, while the singer Sonna Rele is the perfect addition, her soulful voice bringing a spiritual feel to the tribute track.

When he’s pushing the gangster image, he risks sounding played out; but when he speaks on the other side of the coin for that lifestyle, and allows us in the end to see the vulnerability he usually keeps well hidden, Young Don saves the tape. It may just be a glimpse, but he gives a full 360 view of the life of The Weatherman.