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  • Rediscover MD Discovery 1999 Write The Future and Their “hella (˃̣̣̥╭╮˂̣̣̥) ✧ ♡ ‧º·˚” Album

Rediscover MD Discovery 1999 Write The Future and Their “hella (˃̣̣̥╭╮˂̣̣̥) ✧ ♡ ‧º·˚” Album

With a slew of A-list features and an early placement on the latest NBA 2K soundtrack, many hip-hop boards transfixed on the same question in the past few months. Just who exactly are 1999 Write The Future? Now delivering their debut album, hella (˃̣̣̥╭╮˂̣̣̥) ✧ ♡ ‧º·˚:, that question may remain unanswered for the time being, but 1999 Write the Future and the talent they assemble speak for themselves.

Who Are 1999 Write The Future?

Stepping a few months back for a moment, the emergence of 1999 Write The Future in the first place has been a true saga. Beginning to drop singles in October featuring the likes of Conway the Machine, Rick Ross and Offset, their barren streaming platform presence outside of those tracks presented a real mystery. Who is this artist and how are they able to get such big names so early in their career?

To tell the truth, the former question remains. Though the collective’s presence on the 88rising label clears up the latter question, its exact composition is still opaque. This writer’s best guess is that this is a side project for the label itself, a reconfiguration and rebranding of the imprint’s talents and associated acts under a shiny new name.

1999 Write The Future Heavily Engage In ’90s Revivalism on hella

Nonetheless, in those early singles, a few major trends cropped up. One present on all three of the previously alluded to songs was the DJ Khaled tendency to throw wild combinations of artists together, who likely never would have crossed paths if not for this exact endeavor. The other, and arguably more important, was a backwards-facing love for the 1990s, laid bare with All That era graffiti on the single covers, and kitschy, chipper production quirks harkening to the same time period.

In its full version, hella makes good on both of those promises. Separating from the pack of “rap Avengers” type guest lists (see Lyrical Lemonade’s All Is Yellow or French Montana’s Coke Boyz 5), the current roster featured on the project is sturdy, but so is the talent picked from the era it’s pastiching. Souls of Mischief, Del the Funky Homosapien, Busta Rhymes and the remaining members of De La Soul make appearances, a feat both in the stellar performances they pitch in and also in being able to assemble them in the first place.

A section from the (presumably) expanded version of the cover art for 'hella (˃̣̣̥╭╮˂̣̣̥) ✧ ♡ ‧º·˚:', the debut album from 1999 Write the Future. Taken from the 1999 Write the Future YouTube header.
Taken from the 1999 Write the Future YouTube header.

Key Rap Highlights on the New Collective’s Debut…

“PrAisE nIgHt BluES InteRLUde,” handled entirely by Dumbfoundead is catnip for a particular subset of 2010s hip-hop fans, who wondered why the battle rap phenom never truly broke out. It’s again a topic of interest here, as the Korean MC deftly weaves multi-syllabic rhymes about puppy love: “We were crushing to Usher’s Confessions, high / Ten years passed, my pockets done gentrified / And the same shorty popped up on my insta-live.”

On “MiNt cHoCoLaTe,” Griselda’s Westside Gunn and Conway the Machine spit typically excellent bars over BADBADNOTGOOD production. It’s a moment where the ’90s veil evaporates, but for good reason. Attempting to fit the acid jazz sensibilities of BBNG into the tight confines of past-era-mimicking would be a misapplication of their talents. Instead, hearing the two Buffalo MCs over a true expression of the jazz quartet’s skill ends up as billed: a combination made in rap nerd heaven.

…But Not The Only Aspect Worthy of Note

Sun-bleached and grungy in heavy doses, “rUN tHE FaDE” is one of a few moments where things veer into an alt/emo direction, probably the most successful of the bunch. The lead guitar and EYEDRESS’ hauntingly disconnected vocal sections are enough to hypnotize the listener, if not for the distorted Midwest-emo electric guitar sections that violently cut through.

In the end, a compilation album of this type is always a complicated problem. Even with a stacked cast, most simply end up pulled in too many directions, a real “too many cooks in the kitchen” type proposition. We can’t in truth say that 1999 Write The Future doesn’t stumble a few times on hella, but the good far outweighs the bad. Though there are still some unanswered questions about this new collective/project/whatever it may be, it presents a promising, creatively sound new direction, wherever that may be pointed.

You can find hella and the 1999 Write The Future singles that preceded it wherever you get your music.

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