Youngohm – ‘Thatthong Sound’ review: Bangkok rapper’s second album is a seamless, inventive opus
Written by ABR on 08/02/2023
Since bursting onto the scene with his 2017 single ‘Choey Moey,’ Youngohm has quickly risen through the ranks to become one of the most unstoppable forces in Thailand’s thriving hip hop scene. From humble beginnings as a college dropout to a modern-day cultural icon with more than two billion YouTube views under his belt, he blurs the line between underground and mainstream, shifting the landscape with laidback flow, inimitable style, and surprisingly relatable lyrics unlike the bravado typical of the genre.
Despite the overwhelming success, the 24-year-old artist remains grounded. In the opening track of his 2020 debut LP ‘Bangkok Legacy’, he credits his come-up to pure grind and hustle: “Didn’t come from money, I just rap hard / All self-made, no hacks.” With the release of his second album ‘Thatthong Sound,’ he goes even further back, digging deep into the school days when he first started penning rhymes and spitting bars. Short for Matthayom Wat Thatthong School, “Thattthong” is where Youngohm’s origin story began in earnest.
Produced by frequent collaborators Gamer Vader and Ninesixtsoul, the sprawling 19-track opus kicks off with the piano-led ‘Intro’ and SONOFO collab ‘Smoking On The Rooftop’. “I make a move, I gotta proof, you know I gotta go / I make it super-duper loud and now they gotta know,” he reflects in the latter as he, joint in hand, gazes upon the city that made him. As the piano melodies pick up, we quickly get a glimpse into his formative years and learn about his weed dealer (‘I Jod’), his first love (‘Very Very Small’), and how the Thai educational system failed him miserably (‘Werewolf’).
Like its predecessor, ‘Thatthong Sound’ is largely rooted in the mellow trap territory. But there are moments when Youngohm ventures outside his comfort zone and gives us the unexpected. Feeling nostalgic for some UK garage? He has you covered with ‘Thatthong, Ekkamai’, which swaps trap beats for a slice of 2-step. Want to cut a rug to an absolute banger? The title track is where it’s at: “And this is the true Thatthong sound / Sittin’ here, stargazin’ / No ice, no bling, but we makin’ Thatthong proud!’ he raps over a heady hybrid of EDM, rock, luk thung and Hi-NRG mo lam production. “This is the sound from Thailand / Haven’t heard it before? Well, hear it good and proper, muhfucka!”
As the record winds down, Youngohm reverts to what he excels at by treating us to a couple of trap soul cruisers (‘Sai Num Peung’, ‘Dek Inter’, and ‘Too Young To Love’). But he also saves the best for last. Over the ranat (Thai xylophone) melodies of album closer ‘Sound From Dekwat’, he muses “whether born a farmer or a king / We all turn to ashes in the end,” before adding “don’t matter where you come from, I believe you can be whatever you wanna be / Give it your best shot and it’ll see you through.” It’s this bit of parting wisdom that transforms “Thatthong Sound” into a well-rounded outing that stretches beyond a mere trip down memory lane.
- Release date: January 25
- Record label: Independent
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