Matthew Harui, more widely known as Yung Gravy, initially rose to fame with his 2016 single Mr. Clean. The 26-year-old rapper grew up in Minnesota and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he graduated a semester early following the surprising success of "Mr. Clean in 2017. The song had gained traction on Soundcloud, kickstarting his career.
Since then, Gravy’s music has become somewhat of a viral hit, amassing 12 million monthly listeners on Spotify as well as millions of followers across his various social media platforms. In 2020, his song "Oops! became a viral sound on TikTok, and most recently, "Betty (Get Money) has also gained popularity on the app with hundreds of videos. The latter was released in June and is featured on his latest album. Social media standings aside, his success can also be measured with two RIAA certified platinum singles, "Mr. Clean" and "1 Thot 2 Thot Red Thot Blue Thot," as well as five RIAA-certified gold singles, "Magic," "Whip a Tesla (with bbno$), "Welcome to Chili’s (with bbno$)," "Oops!," and "Betty (Get Money)." His latest release, an album titled Marvelous, dropped on Oct. 28 and ensures that Gravy is not going anywhere anytime soon.
Nobody Puts Gravy in the Corner
This album is classic Gravy with a sound that can only be described as trap music meets the soul and funk of the seventies. The album’s opening, "Isn’t It Just Marvelous? (with bbno$)," is mellow and smooth as Yung Gravy croons listeners into his unique take on hip hop/rap music. Each song on the track blends well with one another. Gravy does well with making sure to stick to a specific sound to carry thought the album. Gravy is best known for his samples of songs from the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s to capture sounds of soul, funk, and, sometimes, iconic parts that make a song a golden oldie. Marvelous holds samples from Rick Astley’s"Never Gonna Give You Up," a song infamous in its own right for its viral "rickroll.’" The instrumental hip hop backing combined with the sample creates the recipe for the best track on this album, without question. There’s no wondering why this song went viral on TikTok. It’s catchy, nostalgic, and holds a great flow from Gravy.
All Aboard the Gravy Boat
His lyrics and rhymes are as expected, surprisingly clever with tongue-in-cheek quips in the face of his light, carefree approach to the genre often being dubbed as “meme music.” Reworking the lyrics of "Never Gonna Give You Up" as “Never gonna take no loss / Never gonna lose my sauce / All I know is chase this dough and get money,” for "Betty (Get Money)" proves just that.
His song "Smells Like Money," which includes a sample from Salt-N-Peppa’s ‘80s hit "Push It" holds some of his most clever and entertaining lyrics: “Making movements, had to go pay my recoupments / Raspberry whip with the blue tint, 50K just my accoutrements.” The song melds internet trap with a multi-generational rap hit to exhibit a new, unexpected idea of what trap could be. Despite being ranked 453rd in the world on Spotify, Gravy’s work doesn’t seem to be made for the masses. Each track is made with the intent of entertaining himself and letting his personality shine through. It flips groovy, funky sounds to create something new and adds personality. The songs are filled with clever references and callbacks to pop culture, previous albums, or Gravy’s own quirks.
Stuffing with a Side of Gravy
One thing longtime fans will be pleased with are the features Gravy includes, particularly long-time friend bbno$. The two had previously made an album together in 2020 titled "Baby Gravy 2. Their creativity, ability to bounce off one another, and overall chemistry from that easily carries over to Marvelous.
Even though bbno$ is only in two of the tracks, they’re some of the strongest. Those singing alongside Gravy add to the song. Rich Brain is included in "C’est La Vie with Yung Gravy and bbno$. He holds his own in terms of flow and creativity. The song honestly wouldn’t be the same if his third was taken out. TrippythaKidalso makes a reappearance in Gravy’s discography. He first appeared in Gravy’s 2019 album Sensational and has been in every subsequential album since. "Steppin on the Beat stands out from other tracks in the album, melding their personalities and styles into something unique. The same could be said for the track featuring more old school artists T-Painand Dillion Francis, "Hot Tub," and IshDARR’sfeature in "Sugar Mama." Gravy’s inventiveness has always included knowing who’s the best person to bring into a song to elevate it and that’s exactly what he did with this album.
It’s All Gravy, Baby
Marvelous separates itself from the other albums under Gravy’s belt. There is a clear level of thought and effort put into this album that allows each track to be entertaining. However, there is a consistent issue with Gravy albums. The singles he releases before to promote the album end up being the strongest out of all the songs included. The filler songs are entertaining, they have the classic gravy stamp, but could easily work better as background noise rather than something to sing along to or make a TikTok out of. He could work better as a singles artist, putting all his focus into perfecting one song, and yet Gravy continually manages to put out entertaining albums even if every song isn’t platinum worthy.
Riding the Gravy Train All the Way to the Bank
Marvelous might not be Gravy’s strongest work to date, but it certainly holds more consistency than past albums. There’s classic Gravy sound throughout, complete with samples from some of the most iconic songs in pop culture, and witty lyrics that lead into an easy-to-listen-to flow. These features work to enhance the overall appeal of the album, but one doesn’t outshine the other. The 15 tracks on the album leave the listener with a groovy 40 minutes of music that’s sure to leave them in a better mood than they started with.
Top Tracks: Betty (Get Money), Skiing in Japan Freestyle, C’est la Vie (with bbno$ and Rich Brain)
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