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Thursday, March 28, 2024

Newsletter: SB19’s Josh Cullen and breakthrough rapper Al James join forces in “Yoko Na”


P-Pop star Josh Cullen and prolific rapper Al James come together in “Yoko Na,” their collaborative new single released under Sony Music Entertainment.

Lyrics-wise, “Yoko Na” expresses the words left unsaid in the middle of a relationship fallout. It acknowledges how a kind of love that was once full of life and promises could suddenly fall apart even after trying one’s best to stick it out until the very end. 

The song bears the hallmarks of a summer anthem, thanks to its infectious rap verses from both artists, an inescapable chorus, and a vibrant arrangement that blends modern hip-hop and R&B sensibilities with emotional flair. 

Brian Lotho, who co-produced the track with Josh, captures the essence of the lyrics with steely defiance, adding an extra layer of authenticity by injecting unique elements such as the sound of bottles shattering, tables flipping, and other little sonic details that evoke irreparable brokenness. 

“Well, Yoko Na is like the product of a soul-baring session with my producer, Brian Lotho,” Josh Cullen explains. “For this particular jam, we traded cliched love stories with messy, real-life situations that ordinary people encounter on a daily basis: the frustrations and struggles from past relationships, and somehow confronted it with a more mature take. It's a song that's raw, honest, and straight from the heart.”

The partnership came to fruition after realizing that Al James’ style of laid-back rapping somehow fits the demo that Brian and Josh have been working on for months. Josh admits that he mustered the courage to ask the viral hitmaker to be part of the track despite the short notice. Luckily, Al James said yes and sent his verse a few days ahead of the deadline.

When asked about how Al James is as a collaborator, he said nothing but praise for the Pa-umaga act. 
“He’s very chill. He submitted the reworked track ahead of time and recorded his parts in less than an hour. I really admire his level of professionalism. After that, we just bonded instantly and went on a food trip.”

Josh Cullen and Al James’ “Yoko Na” is out now on all digital music platforms worldwide via Sony Music Entertainment. 


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