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U-N-I

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U-N-I was a hip hop duo from Inglewood, California consisting of Yonas ‘Y-O’ Michael and Yannick ‘Thurzday’ Koffi. They met in 1999 while attending St. Bernard High School. They quickly recognized each other’s talents on the basketball courts and during freestyle battles in the school’s cafeteria. In 2007 the duo released their satirically titled street album Fried Chicken & Watermelon, which sold nearly 6,000 copies, and followed this up in 2009 with the Before There Was Love mixtape and their second street album A Love Supreme. And eventually separating in 2011.

Born from the ashes of gangsta rap Los Angeles, Inglewood indie rap duo U-N-I are the talk of the Internet and guiding hip-hop’s path in the city by juxtaposing music with customized fashion. The groups two MC’s ‘Thurzday’ and Y-O’ have loaded up on accolades over the past 2 years on the strength of their observant, life-affirming rhymes that revolve around everything from limited-edition sneakers to cosmic existentialism and old-school video games to down-home musings on life, declaring their love for music while appreciating plus-size ladies and enjoying lap dances.

Though the two rappers—“Thurzday” (Yannick Koffi) and “Y-O” (Yonas Semere Michael)— hail from an area of Los Angeles commonly associated with the trappings of violent ghetto life, their debut street album, Fried Chicken and Watermelon—powered, melodic and groovy, employing angelic strings, electro-bounce and Nintendo 64 scores—eschewed Dickies, lowriders and high-powered armory in favor of positing their lives against a greater Black experience that was at once earthly and universal.

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