Oftentimes, a sequel can pale in comparison to its predecessor, whether you’re talking movies, music, TV, or video games. For this reason, Indianapolis rapper/producer Mathaius Young wasn’t originally keen on creating a sequel to his 2017 album Take The Night Away.
“When you put that pressure on yourself to do a sequel, you don’t always live up to the hype,” Young says. “I was just like, ‘I ain’t trying to ruin my career by calling it Take The Night Away 2, and then it doesn’t have the impact that I think it’s gonna have as a follow-up project.’”
Thankfully, Young decided to stick with the sequel idea, producing one of Indianapolis’ most exciting hip-hop releases in recent years. Over the course of Take The Night Away 2, the Indianapolis artist shows his versatility both as a rapper and producer repeatedly impressing throughout the album’s eight ear-grabbing tracks. In addition to his own production work, Take The Night Away 2 also features contributions from famed hip-hop producer WondaGurl, who has produced songs for artists such as Drake, Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Travis Scott.
Born in Cleveland, Young moved to Indianapolis around the age of 12. A graduate of Herron High School, he originally started producing songs as a teenager before eventually giving the rap thing a try.
“I was producing first, and then I started rapping because nobody would use my beats,” says Young, who recently had two beats featured on Sirius Blvck’s Major Threat album. “I was really just trying to see what I could do. I had a whole bunch of songs just sitting around and was like, “I’m going to start taking this seriously.’”
Around this time, Odd Future ringleader Tyler the Creator was also coming into his own, serving as an early influence for Young. “He used to do these live stream videos back in the day, and I used to watch some of his stuff,” Young recalls. “I was like, ‘Yeah. He’s rapping over his own beats. I think I’m about to do this.’” Over time, he eventually was able to sharpen his craft as a producer.
“I was just scouring the internet, looking on YouTube, and seeing how to do little stuff,” Young says. “Once I learned the basics, then I took my own direction. I pick up stuff pretty quickly. So once I picked it up, it was over from there.”
Hand-in-hand with the production work, Young was also pushing himself forward as a rapper. In looking back on his progression, he remembers doing some very early performances in a Bloomington basement. “My friend Jeron Braxton used to have this big house in Bloomington, and he’d throw house shows,” Young says. “I think one of my first shows was at his house. From there, people just started paying attention.” Eventually, word spread to Indianapolis, where Young started performing for larger and larger audiences.
“House shows turned into tiny venues in the city and then bigger venues,” he says. “It was just a word of mouth thing with people seeing what was going on.”
Along the way, Young met Canadian producer WondaGurl through a friendship he’d developed with L.A.’s Tre Capital. A young producer in her own right, WondaGurl served as an inspiration to Young. “Early on, I was definitely inspired by her production, just seeing how young she was,” he says. “She just showed me that I could do it too.” Like many other internationally acclaimed artists, Young was also drawn to WondaGurl’s sound as well.
“Her production style is everything that I like,” he says. “It’s very futuristic, forward, and colorful, and that’s kind of how I am as a person too. I relate to it.”
Over time, Young and WondaGurl have also grown close as friends, which is what led to their continue collaboration on Take The Night Away 2. “She’s like my best friend,” Young says. “She willingly gave me a lot of beats to choose from. We’ve just been working over the years and building a friendship.”
It doesn’t take much listening to realize that WondaGurl and Young are on a similar wavelength either. From open to close, Take The Night Away 2 is a complete listen that’s as smooth as a Steph Curry 3-pointer. As for the album’s overall message, Young hopes fans will find in it what they need.
“It was originally just supposed to be a playlist that I would listen to [while] driving, so that kind of took on its own life,” he says. “It’s developed into a more personal meaning. Right now, I’d rather the listener try to describe what it means to them.”