The amount of “Y” rap families with three letter acronyms are becoming indistinguishable these days. There’s the YNW clique, the YBN collective, YSR, YSB and YHN, and the latest in the rush to claim every combination is YSN Flow. He dropped “Flow $ZN” out of the blue on April 10, 2020 on Republic Records and that made me immediately think he must have some momentum behind him. If he was just a struggling artist he’d be self-produced or dropping free Soundcloud mixtapes, but here he is on a major label introducing us to another “Y” combination to remember. Before digging into the “Flow $ZN” album I had to know more about who he was.
It was a little disturbing that the first bio I found had a line on his vital statistics for “alive” or “deceased.” As much as we talk about the coronavirus pandemic these days, there’s been a black-on-black crime pandemic in hip-hop my entire life. We can practice social distancing to fight COVID-19, but we’re clearly not doing enough to flatten the violence curve in the very communities where future rap stars are born if we need an “alive” or “deceased” status next to any artist. I digress. Kamron Ford is only 16 years old, which makes it that much more impressive he landed a record deal, and his listed rap influences are 6ix9ine and NLE Choppa. The new album includes a sequel to his biggest hit to date — a “What Beef? (Remix)” featuring Quando Rondo.
Although Flow looks up to singing rappers like Tekashi, he admits “the label told me chill with all those guns because I’m the future” on “Show My Brothers,” seemingly recognizing the danger of emulating him TOO much. “I had to slow down on them drugs, don’t want to do another bid.” Another? Bruh if you’re only 16, don’t just slow down. You got a deal now. STOP. I do find it encouraging though that he wants to “put my brothers on” and show them that the hustle of hip-hop is a better alternative to the street life.
As with any collective these days those brothers do indeed show up on the album. Once you get to know the sing-song delivery of YSN Flow he brings in YSN Jayo on “Bounty Hunters,” though if you’re listening to it sequentially it’s very near to the end of this short 32 minute album. Given they’re both heavily tuned up in their delivery they are ALMOST interchangeable. By this point in the presentation you’d be familiar enough with Flow to know but it’s still a close call.
Other than Quando Rondo the other recognizable name making a guest appearance on “Flow $ZN” is fellow young’un Lil Tjay on “Bad Vibes.” He’s definitely feeling himself with bars like “I sit back and count my money through my Cartier glasses” and “I let the critics talk that talk ’cause they don’t know nothin’ about me.”
That’s probably fair given he’s so young and so new that most of us don’t know anything about him. He doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry yet, and it might be challenged for notability if he did. YSN Flow just hasn’t been around long enough yet to be high profile, though the “alive” status is exactly how I’d like to keep things. I don’t want him to become notable through being another sad rap statistic. That’s about all I can offer you as far as “Flow $ZN” goes. I’m happy he got a deal at such a young age, I hope he’s banking whatever income he makes for his future, and he sounds like every other young AutoTune rapper with a three letter collective — no better, no worse. Nothing about this album is life changing except perhaps to Mr. Ford himself and whatever other YSN rappers he can put on.