How many classical composers have transitioned into the world of hip-hop and pop? Johan Lenox is one of the few, and he has done so seamlessly. Beginning with the Kanye-Beethoven mashup “Yeethoven,” Johan has gone on to work with the likes of Travis Scott, Big Sean, Lil Nas X, Snoh Aalegra, BROCKHAMPTON, Ye (Kanye West), and more. His latest release “You Up?” featuring Ant Clemons is the lead single off his upcoming album WDYWTBWYGU.
The single arrives with a merchandise release as well as a music video, directed by Johan’s creative director Aamir Khuller. It carries one of the most prominent and robust storylines I have ever seen in a music video. It depicts Johan leaving a party to visit a woman to distract himself from his loneliness and boredom - a recurring theme in his music, as growing up he struggled to find his path in life. It will be interesting to see how this theme is explored throughout the album, with the title standing for What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up.
In the video, we follow Johan’s long and winding mental journey during a long and winding taxi ride. He intends to see a woman, however, she isn’t answering her phone. Throughout the song, Johan grapples with this one-sided relationship. He encapsulates the feeling of overthinking and analyzing every action as a result of this turmoil, leading to blaming himself for this situation. It’s a relatable feeling, a scenario that many have been in and struggled to grasp a reason as to why it’s not working out.
Johan puts his voice on display with alluring melodic rapping and a catchy hook. His production utilizes his influences, as the song begins with just string instruments. As it progresses, elements of hip-hop are included, as bass and drums are introduced during the first verse and remain throughout the song. Ant Clemons’ verse brings an uptick in energy, fitting perfectly into the unique beat while also putting his incredible voice front and center.
Check out the new single and incredible accompanying visuals below: