Yung Lean & Sad Boys, with Thaiboy Digital; Saturday, Jan. 27, 9 p.m., Denver, bluebirdtheater.net
f someone punched you in the face right before your photo shoot, you’d be sad, too. But Swedish prescription-rapper Jonatan Leandoer, better known as Yung Lean, still has plenty of reasons to be cheerful — even if he isn’t — thanks to the time-released success of his viral hit “Kyoto.” The 21-year-old emcee’s 2013 breakthrough single has now reached more than 30 million online views, in spite of, or perhaps because of, the fact that it was recorded in less than 15 minutes and pretty much sounds like it. Lean’s distorted, downtempo vocal is largely confined to a single note, repeated constantly throughout the song, yet somehow rescued from monotony by the dark, synth-driven production of collaborator Yung Gud (who is also a member of Lean’s Sad Boys crew). Less fortunately, the Stockholm native’s offstage life has been as chopped-and-screwed up as his music, thanks to an apparent affinity for swilling cough syrup, which is likely related to his downward spiral of depression and institutionalization. Lean is currently touring behind his third album, Stranger
, which was released back in early November, shortly before his fellow emo-inclined, trap-influenced white rapper Lil Peep’s autopsy report confirmed his death by drug overdose. Hopefully, Lean and his age 16-and-over fans at this weekend’s Bluebird show will take a lesson from that tragedy and avoid treading the same path.