Natalia Kortals reviews

Szklanki by Young Leosia

Young Leosia – “she’s awesome, then she made this”

The phenomenon of the rising star in the Polish Hip-Hop scene deserves to be talked about. Here's why:

Let’s start with the basics – who is Young Leosia? Sara Sudoł, more widely known under her catchy, old-school-inspired nickname, is a 22 year-old singer, rapper, songwriter and DJ from Poland. Her popularity was largely grown under the protection of Żabson (a rapper), who’s been touring with Sara as his DJ for years. Moreover, in 2020 Young Leosia joined the newonce.radio team and is now a co-host of one of Poland’s top internet radio station’s most popular shows, “Bolesne Poranki” (“Painful Mornings”). Another turning point in her career was releasing a debut single, “Wyspy”, which is the first time we can hear Sara show off her voice since her participation in the #hot16challenge, a trend aimed at raising money for hospitals and the national health system to help fight COVID-19. Needless to say, her 16 lines of freestyle left fans hungry for her debut. “Wyspy” is a melody driven, highly danceable song with an amazing music video. Sara provides us with a proper summer bop, making everyone dream of carefree, relaxing holidays in Cuba. The visuals accompanying the production are a tasty take to define Young Leosia’s aesthetic and style. Great job, Sara! Over the next months, she has been involved in features and side projects, along her job in newonce.radio.

Then, the big bang happened. Young Leosia releases “Szklanki”.

The word that could describe the feelings after listening to the song for the first time is: “disappointing”. Comparing to “Wyspy”, this track feels rushed, generic and not thought-through well. The lyrics lack the personality you could sense in the debut single. It reminded me of a female equivalent of Żabson, which is a fair association considering how close they are, but also a modern version of “disco-polo” - the king of cringe amongst music genres.

What is responsible for the success of “Szklanki”? Here is the story:

Just after the release the song is skyrocketing to the top of the charts, Żabson is massively hyping his friend up on his social media (and has a pretty good timing to do so, as his new mixtape drops two days later), and most importantly: it’s trending on TikTok. The choreography published on internaziomale420 account has been viewed 2.3 milion times and there are thousands of videos recreating it. In addition, the song’s simple lyrics with partying with friends as the main topic are innocent enough to appeal to younger audiences. The meme-ability of the hilarious choice of words and pure fun this track brings attracts listeners who left their teenage years behind as well. Now, combine numerous TikTok dancers with the huge wave of Żabson’s supporters: BOOM, Young Leosia hit the spot and is now talked about all over social media.

Consider the background of Young Leosia’s success. The Polish rap scene has been heavily male-dominated for many years, so no wonder Sara is sometimes referred to as “the hope of hip-hop”. The rising movement of women in this genre has been fairly successful, with acts of Dziarma, Kara and even Margaret’s recent venture towards hip-hop. We. Love. To. See. It. However, that could put a lot of pressure on artists such as Young Leosia to revolutionise the market. Having that said, my disappointment with “Szklanki” could stem from my sincere hope that Young Leosia could be the top of the tops and be the turning point in the history of Polish rap. I believe that with her growing platform, strong personality and education in music(!), Leosia is definitely the one to watch.

All things considered, I am very curious to see what Young Leosia has prepared for us next and I am looking forward to the album release. Bear in mind that with all the criticism I have for “Szklanki”, I will be the first person to go wild when it is finally played in a club. Until then, I will have a solo dance-off in my bedroom.