Ryan Yoo, aka boylife, is an artist with so much raw talent for production and lyricism—and most refreshingly of all, an ability to make fucking bangers in completely disparate genres and styles.

mmmonika’s single covers… gorgeous

Yoo was previously a member of the band mmmonika (self described as a project where “four white boys and an asian kid came together like voltron”). Their graphics are very, very fresh and their music is the fun, vibe-y, solid indie reminiscent of COIN and Melt and even Youth Lagoon and c a n d i d ! at times. It’s not a bad showing at all—in fact, I quite enjoyed it, but it doesn’t really compare to what boylife has done in two tracks as a solo artist.

boylife’s first single, peas, doesn’t dance and jam around in the way funky indie boy bands do, it’s raw, and emotional, and full of atmosphere and gravity. It has the hymnal, enveloping feeling of Hozier’s Work Song and the impossibly tender heart of Perfume Genius’ Hood and Monsune’s knack for slow builds into explosive catharsis.

In one fell stroke, boylife manages to pen an entire song full of the kind of lyrics some artists spend their entire careers trying to write:

What do you keep from me in your silence?
Why do you sleep in cigarette ashes?

Who are you aching for when you dream?
I could peel peaches for when you wake up

Love, I could build a fire for your hands
But if you don’t believe in a heaven
Where will our angels rest?

This song fully manages to capture the line in The Prophet which says “To know the pain of too much tenderness.” It feels like care and grief all at once, and you could fall in love to it at the same time. It’s the kind of music that touches your soul.

And people are already starting to take notice. peas has appeared in a number of fire playlists, such as:


boylife’s second release, bummy!, starts off with flooding instrumentals that make you think the song is going to be very serpentwithfeet or even Hans Zimmer, honestly, but then the beat drops and Yoo’s pitch-corrected low voice comes in. Yoo raps lines like “I’ve been up and down as fuck, tell me, do you love me?” A distorted, distant voice in the post-chorus shouts, “I got visions, get my flowers while I’m livin’, bitch!”

The song then switches through all-consuming, almost gospel-esque voices, pure JPEGMAFIA-esque hype banger verse, and layered, chaotic production. It’s SICK. But more than that—the fact that boylife can make both a song like this but also a song like peas, and execute both so, so wonderfully I mean, holy shit.

Like, imagine if Wasteland, Baby and 1998 TRUMAN were made by the same artist? That’s literally what’s happening here. The level of versatility and ability to produce songs with an entirely different sort of effect and substance—it’s really, truly, absurdly impressive, and we can’t wait to see what boylife comes out with next.