New Zealander 4sayken (feat. Young Swif) “Legends”

Hip-hop has a global presence unlike any other genre in popular music, and while its roots lie on American shores, New Zealander 4sayken is giving the style of a fresh spin in his new single with Young Swif, “Legends,” this May. Powered by an oversized bassline that swings a little harder than it should, “Legends” makes it pretty clear to us right out of the gate that it was designed by an artist who puts a lot of value in the physicality of a groove.


At no point in the track does 4sayken back down from the enormity of the rhythm, nor the crushing size of the bass as it constricts tighter and tighter around his verses. He has a confidence in the studio that I don’t run into very often among young up and comers still trying to make a name for themselves in and outside of their local scene, and if he’s able to cultivate it further, I think that what we’re getting out of this recent release is going to evolve exponentially – and in a manner most fans of rap music will find incredibly appealing, to say the least. 

Though the bassline is a bit of a monster in the shadows, the forefront of the mix is undisputedly dominated by the vocal delivery 4sayken offers, which is as sharp as any of his actual lyrics are. He and Young Swif play off of each other epically, and better yet, they never sound like they’re collaborating at a distance – everything is very up-close-and-personal, lending authenticity to the narrative as well as the artistry of both players simultaneously.

The melodic moments are provocative but not nearly as charismatic as the actual rapping is, and although the percussion is curiously louder than it has to be, I can appreciate the general sensibilities of its muscular stylization. There’s no debate as to whether or not this guy cares about dropping massive beats in meticulously chosen places, and with a little more time to grow into his sound, I think he will be able to channel this element of the music into something expressive of angst, pride, and even yearning, even more so than it is in this recording. 


I had never heard of 4sayken before taking a look at his new album Mac N Hose, but he’s rolling like a man worthy of respect on the international stage in this intriguing new single. The appropriately titled “Legends” challenges him to give up a poppy performance that isn’t lacking in the venomous sting we’d expect out of a pure underground dispatch, and for all intents and purposes, he absolutely nails what he set out to achieve here. I’ll have to hear more of his straight-up solo material to get a better handle on his depth as a songwriter, but from an execution standpoint, I think he’s already right where he needs to be in terms of transitioning from the darkness of the indie market to the bright lights of the mainstream. I’ll be staying tuned, and I’d recommend other fans of inspired hip-hop consider doing the same. 

Michael Rand

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