Yung Lean is a rapper from Sweden whose music video for his hit single “I Love College,” became one of the most viewed videos on YouTube. He has been called the “voice of Generation X.”
His debut album, A$AP Rocky Presents…Yung Lean, debuted at number three on Billboard 200. After releasing four EPs, he signed with Roc Nation and released his second studio album, I Don’t Like S**t, I Do Like Money in 2016. His third album, Trench, came out in 2018. In May 2019, he announced that he had left Roc Nation.
Håstad was born on 19 July 1996, in Minska to Kristoffer Leandoersson, a Swedish poet, fantasist, and translator of French Literature, and Elsa Håstad, a former human rights activist and social worker. His father died when he was one month old. When Håstad was about three months old, his mother took him and his sister to live in Minsk, Belarus. They lived there for four years until she divorced his stepfather, a Belgian diplomat, and remarried a Swedish man named Anders Kjellberg. After living briefly in Växjö, Håstad grew up in Stockholm, Sweden.
His mother had been working with children who had suffered trauma during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This experience led her to become involved in human rights activism and she met Håstad’s biological father, Kristoffer Leandoer. She married Leandoer and they had two sons together; Håstad is the elder.
In 2002, the family moved to Paris, France, where his mother became active in the Swedish Association for International Co-operation and Development (SWI). She helped establish the organization’s office in France and later became its president. At age six, Håstad began attending primary school in the city.
When Håstad was nine, his mother left SWI and travelled to Cambodia to work with refugees. There, she met a Cambodian woman named Channary, whom Håstad describes as “a very good friend”. Her relationship with Channary lasted several years and resulted in Håstad having a half-brother, Thong.
From 2005 to 2008, Håstad attended middle school at Lycée Français de Stockholm. His classmates included the future Olympic gold medalist Yulia Efimova. He graduated from the school in June 2009.
At age ten, Håstad began reading books outside of class and developed an interest in science fiction. One of his favorites was Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy. He read it over and over again and eventually wrote a fanfiction based on the novel.
During his time in high school Håstad often got into trouble for doing drugs or for writing graffiti. He was expelled from school twice. On both occasions, he was sent home to recover from drug use.
In 2012, Håstad, Yung Sherman and Günter joined forces to record music under the name Sad Boys. Their debut single, “Lavender”, was released on June 30th, 2013.
The band quickly gained popularity, releasing three singles (“Unknown Death”, “Toxic”, and “Falling”) and one EP (“Unreleased”). On April 4th, 2014, they announced via Facebook that they would release their debut album, titled “Happiness Is A Warm Gun”.
On October 22nd, 2016, it was announced that the band had signed with Warner Music Sweden.
Their second full length album, entitled “Lavender”, came out on May 5th, 2017.
In December 2018, the band announced that they would go on hiatus following the completion of their upcoming third album.
In January 2020, the band announced that their third album, “Unreleased”, would come out on February 19th, 2020.
2014–2016: Unknown Memory and Warlord
In 2014, Yung Lean released his third EP,, on the record label, and later signed to XL Recordings. On 7 April 2014, he released the single “New World”, featuring Danny Brown. He also performed the song live during his performance at SXSW on 13 March 2014. His debut studio album,, was released on 23 September 2014. The album debuted at number three on the UK Albums Chart, and peaked at number 29 on the US Billboard 200 chart. The album was supported by four singles: “White Girl”, “Numba One”, “Fuckin’ Problems” and “Yung Rapunxel”.
The following year, Yung Lean launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to fund his second studio album,. This album was originally scheduled for release in late 2016; however, it was pushed back to early 2017. The album was released on 17 February 2017. The album features guest appearances from rappers A$AP Rocky, ASAP Ferg, Danny Brown, Desiigner, French Montana, Giggs, Iggy Azalea, Jadakiss, Joey Bada$$, Lizzo, Mura Masa, Quavo, Schoolboy Q, Skyzoo, Tyler, the Creator, Tyga, Vince Staples and Wiz Khalifa.
On 15 December 2017, Yung Lean released a collaborative mixtape with fellow rapper Travis Scott entitled, which includes production from Metro Boomin, Southside, Zaytoven, DJ Dahi, Hitmaka, Cardiak, Sonny Digital, Mike Dean, London on da Track, Lex Luger, 808 Mafia and others.
Yung Lean played in support of Drake on his Nothing Was the Same Tour in summer 2018.
In June 2018, Yung Lean released the single “I Love You Like Drugs” via SoundCloud. The song samples the music of the 1980s movie Scarface. In November 2018, Yung Lean collaborated with American singer Halsey on the track “Without Me”.
Yung Lean released his fourth studio album, titled, on 19 October 2018. The album features guest appearances by artists including Big Sean, Chance the Rapper, Eminem, Future, Jay Electronica, Lil Wayne, Logic, Offset, Playboi Carti, Pusha T, Rick Ross, Snoop Dogg, Swae Lee, Tory Lanez, Yelawolf and Yo Gotti. The album debuted atop the US Billboard 200, selling 106,000 album equivalent units in its first week of release according to Nielsen Music.
In January 2020, Yung Lean released another collaboration with Halsey called “Goosebumps”.
2017–2019: Stranger, Poison Ivy and Nectar
In 2016, Håstad signed to Warner Music Group and began working on his debut album. He collaborated with artists such as Riff Raff, A$AP Rocky, Mura Masa, and Earl Sweatshirt. His second album, I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, was released on 20 June 2017. The album peaked at number 4 on the Swedish Albums Chart.
Håstad released his third album, Poison Ivy, on 10 November 2017. The album peaked within the top 40 of the Swedish Albums Chart, and spawned three singles: “Red Bottom Sky”, featuring Killa Kyleon; “Hunting My Own Skins”; and “Skimask”.
On 12 December 2017, Håstad released the EP One Star Toxic, consisting of nine tracks, including collaborations with Converse, Whitearmor and A$AP Rocky. The following day, he released the music video for “Happy Feet” with Thaiboys Digital, which had been recorded during the sessions for Poison Ivy.
On 9 April 2018, Håstad performed at the Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival. During the performance, he played “Wooden Girl”, and later shared footage of the performance via YouTube.
Yung Lean released his third studio album, Nectar, on 25 January 2019. The album debuted at number 44 on both the Swedish Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200.
On 31 August 2019, Håstad released a collaborative project with Whitearmor called Poison Ivy. The album consists of ten songs, including collaborations with Consequence, Earl Sweatshirt, and Whitearmor himself.
2020–present: Starz, Blodhundar & Lullabies, In My Head and Stardust
Yung Lean’s fourth studio album, Starz, was released on 15 May. The album features production from Whitearmor, Yung Sherman and Ariel Pink.
On 20 June, Yung Lean released a short video titled “Boylife in EU”, which included a clip of him performing the song live. This marked the first performance since the cancellation of his European tour.
On 25 August, Yung Lean released another short video titled “Violence + Pikachu”, which contained footage of him recording the song.
On 10 September, Yung Lean released his third EP, “Stardust”, containing four tracks. A music video for the lead single “Lonely Boy” was released on 11 October.
On 19 November, Yung Lean revealed the name of his next project, Jonatan Leandoer 96. He described it as “a collection of melancholic lullabies about life, love and death.”
On 21 November, he released the first single from the album, “Trollywood”, followed by “Vikings” on 24 November.
On 12 December, he released the second single from the album, titled “The Night Before Christmas”.