Y-O (Yonas Semere Michael) // THURZDAY (Yannick Koffi)
From Inglewood, California.
Y-O and Thurzday met in 1999 at St. Bernard High School in Westchester, California. They quickly recognized each other’s talents on the basketball courts and during freestyle cipher battles in the school’s cafeteria. They were originally part of a four-man group, the Rap-Ture Kamp, along with fellow St. Bernard student Ablaze and local producer Unjust Ant.This crew released two mixtapes, Rap-Ture Kamp Unleash, Volume 1 and Jacking Beats. After graduation in 2006 they split from the Kamp and formed U-N-I, the name inspired by The Roots’ 1996 album Illadelph Halflife. Thurz stated “To us, it’s a first person statement. Myself and Y-O, U-N-I-verse, ain’t nobody against us. It also stands for being universal and not being boxed into one sound.”
Y-O is the mohawk emcee whose name “Yonas” translates to “Soldier” in his native Eritrea (East Africa) and he moved from Seattle, Washington to Inglewood, California in 1996. Thurzday is a descendent of both the Ivory Coast and Belize, taking his moniker from his last name “Koffi” which translates in Ghana’s native language of Akan to “boy born on Friday.”
U-N-I who profess to be die hard sneaker aficionados flipped The Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M” into the 2007 hit song “K.R.E.A.M.” (Kicks Rule Everything Around Me) which to date has received 430,000 hits on Youtube.That same year the duo released their satirically titled street album Fried Chicken & Watermelon which contained 14 songs including the single “Beautiful Day” and “Phat Girls,” an ode to bigger women. “Beautiful Day” has received over 1.2 million views on Youtube, and garnered international acclaim from as far as the Czech Republic, Belgium and Germany. The duo soon became a staple on the urban and alternative blogosphere and received 5.5 million profile views on Myspace. Subsequently they were signed by ICM Agency and opened up for artists including Lupe Fiasco, 50 Cent, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Wale, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, The Roots and Redman. They were named “Best Breakout LA Artist” at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards,featured in URB Magazine’s “NEXT 100” & “NEXT 1000,” XXL Magazine’s “New Kids in Town,” Billboard Magazine’s “Acts to Watch,” The Source Magazine’s “Unsigned Hype” & “Off the Radar,” Time Out New York’s “The Volume,” MTVu’s “The Hot Seat,” BET.com’s “Rookies of the Year” and ending up on the “SoundBoard” of The Los Angeles Times while serving as the official hosts of MTV’s “Sucka Free”  - on the strength of their observant, life-affirming rhymes that revolved around everything from limited-edition sneakers to cosmic existentialism and old-school video games to musings on life and actress Lauren London.
In October 2008 their rendition of “Stakes is High” was featured on The Honor Roll Mixtape (DJ Mick Boogie) while the remix to “Beautiful Day” featured Big Pooh and Evidence of Dilated Peoples. In February 2009 to set the precedent for their second album “A Love Supreme” the duo released the mixtape “Before There was Love” (DJ Mick Boogie) featuring collabs with Talib Kweli, Aloe Blacc, Fashawn, Mickey Factz, Evidence, and Kes Kaos.
In February 2009 while promoting the debut LP A Love Supreme they were featured in UK’s Dazed & Confused Magazine where music editor Tim Noakes said, “They are the youthful epitome of colour and cadence.” In Summer 2009 they secured a record deal with Mountain Dew’s Green Label Sound for the release of the single “Land of the Kings.” Their music videos for “Beautiful Day,” “Soul Hop” “Lately” f/ Miguel, “Windows,” “Black Sky” and “Land of the Kings” all went into rotation on MTV Jams, MTVu, Sucka Free and MTV2. In Fall 2009 they headed out on a successful nationwide tour with Warren G, Kidz in the Hall and Curtains.
In March 2010 they released the follow up to their LP A Love Supreme 2.0 which contained 5 new tracks as well as a remixes with Evidence, Bun B and Jive Recording R&B Artist Miguel.
The duo have been credited with reviving the “true essence” of hip-hop, rejecting the Gangsta rap style that had become common.In 2007 Billboard Magazine said the duo were “born from the ashes of gangsta rap.”
2007 Fried Chicken & Watermelon
2009 Before There Was Love
2009 A Love Surpreme
2010 A Love Surpreme 2.0