In the two years since Yungblud's debut album, 21st Century Liability, dropped, the wild-haired, punk-infused artist born Dominic Harrison has made a point to turn his live shows into full-bodied community spectacles where everyone is a participant. There's sweat, screaming, and, above all else, the collective release of a group going through something together.
But even as 2020 has made those kinds of experiences impossible, Yungblud has looked to recapture that spirit and distill the intense energy into his second LP. Ahead of the 2020 VMAs, where Dom is nominated (dominated?) for PUSH Best New Artist, the newly 23-year-old Yungblud tells MTV News correspondent Dometi Pongo that this new venture is almost here.
"It's this coming-of-age record — that don't mean growing up. You can come of age at 74. You can be like, ah man, I figured out what I am for the first time," he said. "But it legitimately explores the ideas of identity, of sexuality, of equality, of depression, of anxiety, of life, of love, of heartbreak, of everything. Me and my fan base, we're coming of age together. I want to do it side by side."
Part of that community, of course, happened at the Yungblud shows. "It's about the stories that they told me. I'm outside of shows every kind of night — well, I was — and I just heard the most incredible stories from the most incredible people. I wanted this album to be representation for the misrepresented."
Yungblud also made a point to praise his "Lemonade" collaborator Denzel Curry. Last year, Curry made quite the statement with an intense, highly captivating cover of Rage Against the Machine's "Bulls on Parade." It caught Dom's eye and, as he explains, was the catalyst for asking Curry to spit a verse on "Lemonade" and help bring its paranoid, twisted carnival sonic aesthetic to life.
"I've always loved him. My passion for him really cemented when he did the Rage cover, 'cause obviously I do rock music," he said. "I had this record — this idea of society putting so much pressure in our brain and just wanting to explode. And if anybody knows my shows, my shows go absolutely crazy. ... I want to find an artist who is just like that, who is an activist, who talks about equality and the world we want to be a part of. And I was like, it's gotta be Denzel Curry, man."
"I sent him and idea, and he just snapped on that verse," Yungblud continued. "It sounds old school, that verse. It sounds like N.W.A or something."
Yungblud's sophomore album is due out in the fall, and though we don't know the title just yet, Dom gave us a helpful clue: "The name I've already talked about, so in some of my interviews, if you're smart enough, you might figure out what the name is."
The 2020 VMAs will air live at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Sunday, August 30 across MTV's linear and digital platforms, as well as with several outdoor performances around New York City. Find everything you need to know at vma.mtv.com.