Peace, reflection, reality. Those three words come to mind when listening to Yalee’s newly released song ‘My Outside Is Different’.
You hit play. You are met with a serene piano introduction. The tune moves through your body – it is subdued and beautiful. You feel like you are about to enter an emotional state in a movie scene when the main character reflects or contemplates a vital choice. You feel as though you are the main character.
Then Yalee sings, “I just saw a nigger get shot three times,” immediately reeling you in and making you face reality. From dreamland to the real world…
The song continues to describe that “this happens every day”– black folks face injustice and brutality daily. It hits you hard no matter what. The song’s lyrics tell the story of a boy who had beef with said protagonist, Yalee. You are, in every sense, listening to a story. It weaves through your senses. The chorus comes in and says, “My outside is different, my outside is different.” You feel Yalee singing through pain and recollection. You sense the truth in his words.
You hear him sing “pop, pop, pop” and “skirt, skirt, skirt”– the imagery goes through your mind. The image of shots being fired, people speeding away. These noises follow you; they stick with you. Yalee contemplates how you have to care for others, but how do you care for yourself? The story gets thicker and thicker as you near the end. The world he comes from– well, you’re lucky if you get out alive. Not such a bright ending to a song, but then the echoes of bells, hums, and the piano drifts you back into a dreamland melody– hinting that life comes with the good and the bad.