Jung Youth
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Jung Youth

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Duo Hip Hop Indie





Musically speaking, Nashville, TN has always been the heart and home of American country music. Even so, jazz and Christian pop/rock have carved out their own small niches in this honky-tonk town. But minus David Darnell Brown (aka Young Buck), Nashville has never been known for birthing rappers, and Usher kind of dropped the ball for the whole hip hop/r&b scene. Things aren’t apt to change any time soon, but today’s artist proves that anything’s possible in the Nashville music scene. The daily album today comes from recording artist Justin Tyler Donahue, who goes by the moniker Jung Youth. Donahue hails from Louisville, but is currently making hip hop in a country town. Electronic, experimental hip hop at that. Kid’s got stones, to be sure.
Donahue has released two previous albums, both collaborations with other producers – Four Seasons, his first release, produced by DJ Great White, and Duende, an EP tribute to J Dilla. In the liner notes for Flirkin’, Donahue describes this album as “a sort of concept album; the story’s narrative follows a protagonist through a stream-of-consciousness journey to his own transformation”. Donahue works with longtime friend Nephew, who claims production credit for a large part of this album.
Flirkin‘ opens with “Computer Lust”, which sounds like a mix between The Knife and The Weeknd. Electronically funky with a dose of social media and technical jargon that aims directly at our current obsession with being tethered to our devices. A strong play as an intro track, targeting something as near and dear to almost everyone’s hearts as their iDevices. But before things get too heated, “Stormy Funday” comes in, super chill, as if to say “Okay, everyone just relax for a minute…” There’s a feeling of unity and just general well-being that the track inspires, and things cool off for a bit.
Tracy Champion and A. Loco Da Man add guest vocal work on the title track, which features a super southern bass line and some retro drum and synthesizer work. If realized differently, the song could come off as a suave r&b jam, but the lyrics warp things into a monster that prizes lust over love. Pretty relevant, considering the title. The featured single, “There It Iz (That’s That Sh*t)”, is a party banger. The lyrics aren’t Donahue’s best or most intelligent, but the delivery is solid, and the quirky chorus is prime get-stuck-in-your-head material.
Nephew and Donahue keep the ride going for the last few tracks. “This Needs More” is a downtempo, jazz-influenced jam with some notable timing and delivery accents. Experimentally, “So Religious” pushes the bounds for this album with its minimal electro beat and vocoder work. The track has a creepy, futuristic feel that explores various aspects of the music industry and writing process. The album closes with “Departure”, the most optimistic of these eight tracks, another chiller. “There It Iz” gets the nod for most likely to go big, but the bookends of this album are where it’s at.
Donahue comes through with solid lyrics and Nephew lays down some nice beats. Jung Youth pushes ahead, building on what’s behind rather than relying on it. This brand of experimental, electronic hip hop isn’t for everyone, but if you’re looking to get outside your hip hop comfort zone, make a pit stop in Nashville. - The Daily Album

"Numbah 4,080: Jung Youth's Flirkin' EP"

This past week was a low-key one for Nashville hip-hop. So quiet, in fact, that you’re forgiven if Jung Youth’s new Flirkin’ EP completely slipped under your radar. It’s all right if it did. That’s why I’m here.
Flirkin’ is an impressive record, produced almost entirely by Nephew, Jung Youth’s frequent collaborator and longtime friend. Indeed, on first listen, Flirkin’s production and overall cohesion are the first things to truly stand out. It's a reflective and stream-of-consciousness-oriented release, and Nephew’s production does a good job of navigating between different moods as the EP progresses. With each additional listen, the chemistry between the duo becomes more apparent. Jung’s lyricism and R&B vocals also start to become more impressive in their own right.

On “Get It While You’re Here,” Youth displays his chops as a songwriter and vocalist. The song is a classic, new-school R&B single that’s surprisingly reminiscent of UK garage pioneers like The Streets and Just Jack. It’s the kind of song that could be a crossover-radio hit. Same with tracks like “There It Iz (That’s That Sh*t)” and “This Needs More.” In fact, “There It Iz (That’s That Sh*t)” epitomizes the unabashed, poppy vibe that makes Flirkin’ such an enjoyable listen. Jung Youth’s newest EP is one of the most accessible records I’ve heard in Nashville hip-hop this year. It’s pure pop enjoyment, with a surprising amount of depth and musicality. - Nashville Scene, Itoro Udoko

"Local hip hop artist Jung Youth talks about new EP, Flirkin’"

Before local hip hop artist Jung Youth plays Mercy Lounge tonight for 8 off 8th: The Jingle Ball, we had a chance to sit down with him to discuss his newest EP, Flirkin’.

No Country: I know you as Justin Donahue. Who is Jung Youth, and how did he emerge?

Jung Youth: Jung Youth is for the seekers, for anyone who wants to push the boundaries of what they know and would not prefer to live with an “ignorance is bliss” mentality. Aside from the connection to Carl Jung, JUNG is an acronym that stands for “Justice Under New Gods.” Especially in modern times, there are tons of ‘new gods’ that we are being told to idolize everywhere we look—Kanye even has that song “I am a God.” What I want to do with my music is provide a navigational foundation for people who don’t want to worship that stuff. Jung Youth is like my version of the Wu-Tang Clan or Odd Future or N.E.R.D. or UGK, or on an even broader scale, how Lady Gaga has her Little Monsters. I may be the artist and founder behind Jung Youth, but it’s something way bigger than Justin Donahue himself.

NC: What does “flirkin’” mean?

JY: Flirkin’ is flirting while you’re working. I think we can all relate to that a little bit. It’s like when you’re at a store and one of the employees is ‘giving you the eyes’ and trying to do a little bit more than just their job.

NC: Flirkin’ is a stream-of-consciousness album that focuses on a protagonist seeking and undergoing personal transformation. Are you the protagonist? What inspired this concept?

JY: I don’t want to go as far as to say that we are all the protagonist, but it was definitely my intent to create something that would fit into a modern “everyman” paradigm. And of course, I used myself and my life as main inspirations. The project is meant to be played from start to finish, and the songs are like chapters. So if you think about it like that, you will see that the first three songs are setting the stage for the next three songs, and then the last song, “Departure” is like the climax.

NC: What song on this album defines you most as an artist?

JY: “Departure.” Those are some of my favorite lines—they really encompass my philosophy, especially “What is love if you don’t share it? [And] life if you don’t live it? If I could have it all, then I would never waste a minute.” I’ll never forget writing and recording that song, and how I felt when Jordan first played that beat for me. I even rapped it a cappella for my great aunt, who is a nun, at a family reunion. She liked it, so I knew I was on to something.

NC: You worked primarily with a producer on this, Nephew. What is the extent of your partnership?

JY: Nephew is my Kentucky cousin, Jordan Bartlett. That’s the homie. We met one night at a party when I was first considering moving to Nashville from Kentucky. I ended up freestyling for an hour with Classic Williams. He claims that from that day on, he began setting aside beats he wanted me to rap on, though he didn’t show them to me for another year (after I had proven my talents as an emcee).

NC: Actually, the first time I met you, it was in a freestyle circle at the Cherub house. Is this part of your writing process?

JY: I think there is a time and place for both freestyling and writing. For example, I absolutely love freestyling when I’m in my car on long drives—but I also used to write all the time while I was riding the subway from Queens to Manhattan. My process for this EP was a mixture of both.

NC: You’re playing Dec. 16 at Mercy Lounge for 8 off 8th: Jingle Ball. How will this sound be performed live? What are your feelings?

JY: I wanted to go with a full band. Some songs will sound different than the studio recordings, simply because we’ve tweaked the arrangements and instrumentation. Tracy Champion is going to be performing with me live, both as a vocalist and also as a member of the Jung Youth band, and we even have a couple things up our sleeve that I am very excited about. This is the first time any of these songs will be performed live.

NC: The hip hop community is largely underrepresented in Nashville. What can you say about it?

JY: I can say there are a lot of super talented hip hop artists in Nashville, and I am proud to be a part of such a rapidly advancing scene. Over the next few years I think Nashville will get a lot of attention as a city where hip hop is alive and well. Take, for example, John Gotty, the founder and editor of hip hop site The Smoking Section. He and others like BreakOnACloud and 2L’s on a Cloud, and Nashville Scene as well, do a lot for spreading awareness and communicating what’s going on locally with hip hop. But I think a lot of it is up to the fans and artists.

NC: What’s the future look like for Jung Youth?

JY: The future looks very busy and bright. After having released a few projects over the last couple of years (Four Seasons, Duende, and now Flirkin’), I’m heading into the studio in January to finish mixing/mastering my debut full-length album as JustinDonahue. We did that with the full band and it’s going to be HUGE. In addition to that, there is a follow-up to Flirkin’ in the works with Nephew as well as a project with Tracy Champion. Also, Dannny Melon and I created a group called Woaser Kids, and we are working on getting that EP out in 2014 as well. And I can’t forget about Yada Yada, my full-length, ultra-grimy hip hop project with Central Parks that is going to blow some speakers for sure. - No Country For New Nashville

"Tory Lanez @ RedBull Select: Austin"

"The first artist, Jung Youth (@JUNGYOUTHmusic) from Nashville, came on stage about 30 minutes after we arrived. Jung put on an energetic show, pumping me up! He was jumping/dancing onstage, and then leaping off and running through the crowd. I love when I see a artist singing and running through the crowd, it really shows how deep the artist gets into it and how involved they are in their music and audience. Not only did Jung Youth rock the crowd with an amazing performance, but he had some really solid tracks. I didn’t know about Jung Youth before last night, but I sure as hell know about him now though and have already followed him on Twitter. Hit this guy up.. he’s going places." - Rap Advocate


Mobb Deep came through Nashville, Tennesse venue Exit/In a couple of weeks ago as a packed house welcomed them. The Redbull Nashville team presented the show as the opening acts and local support came from DJ Rate and Soundselect artists Openmic and Jung Youth. While both emcees readied the crowd with their hip hop influenced tracks, the crowd patiently waited for the Queens, New York emcees to hit the stage. 2L’s On A Cloud contributing photographer, Andre ( @AndreTheArrogant) attended the show and captured awesome photos for those who were unable to catch the greatness live. - 2 L's On A Cloud



  • Four Seasons (2012)
  • Duende EP (2013)
  • Flirkin' EP (2013)
  • Sheisty Maneuvers - Single (2014)



From the moment Jung Youth entered the world, he has been determined to leave it better than he found it. As Jung Youth describes in “Stormy Funday,” his mother held a music box to her stomach and always encouraged him to pursue the art of music. In high school, he realized his love for rap and began experimenting with hip-hop beats. It wasn’t until he lived in Spain that he really started writing rhymes as a way to pass time. Freestyling began transitioning from how he entertained himself to forming bonds with strangers and establishing new friendships. His passion for music became a tool to empower every listener to improve the world around him or her.

Jung Youth says, “... (Jung Youth) is for the seekers, for anyone who wants to push the boundaries of what they know and would not prefer to live with an “ignorance is bliss” mentality.” But the lyrics aren’t the only focus of these tracks. Jung Youth constantly takes in the music around him, enjoying his peers and searching for inspiration. As with most artists, his ultimate goal is to create something new and impactful. But unlike most artists, he’s pushing the limits with experimental beats and unconventional guest artists, like pop disco musician Jordan Kelley. After traveling the world and writing as he went, Jung wound up in Nashville, a city based on every genre of music except his; therefore, he has captured a sound that feels comfortable to many different audiences, but always unfamiliar enough to captivate their attention and stir up their emotions. Each song is built to provide a cathartic escape from societies norms, allowing the listener to relax and regain control of every day.

Born Justin Donahue, Jung Youth, longs to create a space for his listeners and the M.C.’s that come after him to explore the world without the binds of preconceived notions and stereotypes. “Aside from the connection to Carl Jung, ‘JUNG’ is an acronym that stands for “Justice Under New Gods.” Especially in modern times, there are tons of ‘new gods’ that we are being told to idolize everywhere we look—Kanye even has that song “I am a God.” What I want to do with my music is provide a navigational foundation for people who don’t want to worship that stuff,” says Jung Youth. Pushing against the grain is increasingly popular but seldom do artists possess the motivation and endurance that Jung Youth has already extended, gaining him popularity in both local and underground publications, like The Daily Album, Nashville Scene, Rap Advocate and many others. This year, he has also had the privilege of sharing the stages with Mobb Deep and Juicy J, as well as Project Pat, Travis Scott and Kool Keith, and gained recognition as a Red Bull Sound Select artist.

The music industry is transitioning into unknown territories and no one is better equipped for that those changes than someone who thrives on change and creativity. Some artists are built for a buzz and some are built to change the world. With a foundation built on courage and authenticity, Jung Youth has officially arrived and he’s not leaving until he’s made that change.

Band Members