Jonatan Aron Leandoer Håstad (born 18 July 1996), better known by his stage name Yung Lean, is a Swedish rapper and record producer. Yung Lean released his debut mixtape in 2013 (entitled Unknown Death 2002) and multiple singles to YouTube under his label Sad Boys Entertainment, including "Ginseng Strip 2002", "Kyoto", and "Yoshi City". Lean released his debut album Unknown Memory during the late summer of 2014 following a two-month long American tour.
Håstad was born in Stockholm and grew up in the city's Södermalm district. In his youth, he began to develop an interest in hip hop music receiving 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' as his first introduction to the genre.
2012–13: Career beginnings
Håstad met Yung Sherman and Yung Gud in a local Stockholm park and they struck up a friendship, discovering they enjoyed much of the same music. Together, they formed what was known as Hasch Boys, which consisted of Lean, Sherman and Gud along with other Stockholm individuals who later became a part of Gravity Boys Shield Gang.
When all of the other members started losing interest in "Hasch Boys", it left Lean, Sherman and Gud coming to realization that they were the only active members. As a result, they then formed a trio of what was then known as "Sad Boys". By 2012, Yung Gud and Yung Sherman began producing and mixing music while Yung Lean would write lyrics and record vocals and would upload an array of these songs to his SoundCloud profile.
2013–present: Mainstream success
Yung Lean began to attract public attention in 2013 when the music video for his track "Ginseng Strip 2002" went viral, succeeding over 2 million views on YouTube. That same year, he put out his first official releases; Unknown Death 2002 and an EP titled Lavender which includes the track "Ginseng Strip 2002" along with other songs that Yung Lean felt worthy for a wide release, but didn't feel "fit" on the Unknown Death 2002 mixtape. Consequence of Sound placed "Ginseng Strip 2002", Yung Lean's song off of the Lavender EP, at number 44 on their "Top 50 Songs of 2013", while Vibe included the Unknown Death 2002 mixtape in their "The 10 Most Overlooked Debut Rap Mixtapes of 2013", describing it as "a natural progression from the freely associative, often nonsensical rhymes of Lil' B with a keener sense of melody".
In 2013, Yung Lean and Sad Boys, toured through Europe. Later that same year, Acclaim Magazine had Yung Lean as their guest for a Q&A "smalltalk" segment, where they asked him about a wide variety of miscellaneous things, including his favourite hangover cure and his desktop wallpaper.
In 2014, Yung Lean and Sad Boys embarked on the White Marble Tour: North America, playing in 24 cities across Europe. Shortly after the conclusion of this tour Sad Boys announced a further Black Marble Tour: North America which would include several performances in cities across North America. The first of these shows took place in July at the Webster Hall in New York City, and was well received by writers for publications such as XXL, and The New York Times.
Yung Lean starred on Studio PSL in May 2014 and was also one of five final nominees for the 2014 P3 Guld in the Hip Hop/Soul category.
Yung Lean released his debut full-length album, entitled Unknown Memory on September 23, 2014. The album was accompanied with North American and European tours, beginning on December 1 in New York with a nearly sold-out show on Webster Hall's main ballroom stage.
Yung Lean released his second full-length album, Warlord, on February 25th, 2016.
Yung Lean has been controversial for his 'slack' rapping style. His music and idea for his songs primarily focus on a "sad" or "emotional" atmosphere. XXL magazine included him in their 2014 list of "15 European Rappers You Should Know". Fact magazine viewed the Unknown Death 2002 mixtape as "a logical continuation of Clams Casino and Beautiful Lou's innovative techniques, emerging with thick, melancholy numbers that drip with a rare and earnest allure." In 2013, Fact published another article titled "Rise of the Sad Boys: from Kompakt to Yung Lean, a history of how electronic musicians have worn their sadness on their sleeves", which claimed that "[Yung Lean]'s mixtape Unknown Death 2002 is the epitome of sad rap".
Yung Lean is well known for his fashion, often sporting bucket hats. Vice claimed that "Yung Lean Is Going to Do Bucket Hats Like Mac Miller Did the Snapback" in an article of the same name. His lyrics often focus on video games, drugs, and products such as Arizona Iced Tea, Gatorade and various American film series including Star Wars, Ghostbusters and Rush Hour.
Yung Lean is noted for referencing the years 2001, 2002, and 2003 in his songs, as he feels those were the best and "most emotional" years for hip hop. He is also known for referencing the popular culture of the early-mid 2000s (i.e. Pokémon, dial-up era Internet) in his songs, as those were his childhood years.