Caricatures

What Went Right With… Suicideboys ($uicideboy$)?

A caricature of $crim and Ruby Da Cherry aka $uicideboy$

The $uicideboy$, a Hip-Hop duo from New Orleans, have been making music for a while now, releasing numerous EPs and mixtapes over the past few years. If you’ve never heard their music before, I can only describe it as a mixture of Trap, Horrorcore, Cloud Rap, Scream Rap, with elements of Punk and even R&B (and there’s a distinct and obvious influence of early Three-6 Mafia and other mid-90s underground rappers from Memphis). Because of this amalgamation of genres you can sometimes find yourself gravitating toward the boys because of one of these styles and then feeling dismayed every time the group sways in favour of another. As someone who has always been a fan of dark, violent, Horrorcore Hip-Hop, I prefer the duo’s more hardcore, underground offerings and if I had my way there’d be more “Dead Batteries” and less “Diemonds” in their discography.

As I’ve said in numerous articles; most contemporary Hip-Hop is borrowing from the past, but unlike modern “Boom Bap” rappers who get an unfair amount of flack from music journalists for their throwback East Coast aesthetic, every modern “Trap” rapper never gets called out for sounding like the South and Mid-West from the same period. $uicideBoy$ reference lots of music from the golden era; “Say Cheese And Die” samples Spice-1’s track from the Tales From The Hood soundtrack, “Sunshine” samples Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s “Mo Murda”, “It’s About A 6 Hour Drive” samples Three 6 Mafia’s “Charging These Hoes”, and “Sarcophagus III” samples an MC Mack track (I can’t think of the title off the top of my head). It goes without saying then, that if you’re hankering for some mid-90s nostalgia and recall albums like Mystic Stylez and Creepin’ On Ah Come Up, you’ll love some of the music created by $crim and Ruby Da Cherry.

As many people have pointed out, this group have a tendency to make way too many sub-3 or even sub-2-minute tracks. Something else that critics have pointed out is their often formulaic content, but lots of musicians repeat themselves and if you enjoy something why not have more of it? Given the $uicideboy$’ repetition of topics and lines, if you play a drinking game whereby every time they say “pussy boy” or “fuck boy” you take a shot of Tequila, you’ll be fucked up in no time and at that point a playlist of their music will add to your feeling of intoxication.

In terms of fanbase, the group has over the years attracted a large amount of suburban kids who missed the careers of Juicy J, DJ Paul, Lord Infamous, Koopsta Knicca (and the rest) but as long as these fans acknowledge the influences and go back and listen to the originals, I’m okay with it because $uicideboy$ emulate those artists very well. With the pair almost going mainstream with a truck-load of reaction videos by various YouTubers, hopefully the originators of the “$uicideboy” style also become known.

Speaking of originators, if like me, you preferred Three-6 Mafia’s more devil-oriented, horror-core music (pre Academy Award stuff) you’ll also be gravitating toward $uicideboy$’ more morbid offerings. I know the group made a song titled “Stop Calling Us Horrorcore” but the best music the pair make is undoubtedly from that sub-genre. The opening verse in “Vices” is overtly Horrorcore (“Undertaker of the murder clan”, “I fantasize about homicide”, “Creeping in the cemetery” etc.). In terms of Horrorcore production, there’s a sample of Vincent Price from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” in “Mount Sinai”, there’s a Poltergeist and a Halloween sample in “Rotten Souls”, and a Body Snatchers and an Omen sample in “Durango ’95”…

…“Limp Wrist” samples Child’s Play 2, and tracks like “Dead Batteries” contain an original haunting operatic sound making for a great horror-movie-esque song. With all this brilliant horror-themed music, at some point they and their fans have to come to terms with the fact that it’s the horror element of their music that’s the most memorable and given the band’s name, why would you want to hear them making Pop shit? And whilst on the topic of “Pop shit”, their debut studio album was originally titled “I Don’t Want To Die In New Orleans” but it was renamed “I Want To Die In New Orleans” making me think that this LP would be almost entirely macabre. Unfortunately this was not the case. This was yet another release from the duo that wasn’t stylistically focussed, wavering between new and old-school-sounding Memphis-Trap and then veering into wannabe-mainstream choruses which for me, sound at odds with the group’s name, appearance, and album title.

Like I said, sometimes the $uicideBoy$ are not dark enough for my liking with the occasional hackneyed lyrics (“I just fucked your bitch in some Nike flip flops” from “Muddy Blunts” for example or “Straw Chairs” with its tacky autotuned sound ruining the mixtape). Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for varied music, just not wack, radio-friendly shite. It’s not like I’m against singing, there’s a great singing hook in “Chilly Gentilly” and “…And So It Was” (featuring Black Smurf) brilliantly samples Kye Kye’s “Glass” making for a tranquil and ethereal song. And the sample of deadmau5 & Kaskade’s “I Remember” in “Antarctica” also makes for a well-balanced song with relaxed, radio-friendly elements and decent raps. Their production even brings in the occasional mellow, Jazzy elements (“Runnin’ Thru The 7th With My Woadies” and “40 Oz. & Sober Remix”) which serve as a change of pace without compromising on credibility.

I have to say that back in 2012 the duo were making corny-as-fuck music but between 2014 and 2016 they made a plethora of classic material. $uicideboy$ seem to release everything they record, and by doing so, there’s lots to like but conversely lots to dislike. Similar to K-Rino and Prince (during his independent years) $crim and Ruby Da Cherry have a mountain of releases to their name which you have to be selective with. This is the kind of group that if you make a playlist containing their strongest tracks (of which there are loads) you can create an almost flawless list of songs. Hopefully the duo at some point release an album similar to the Spotify playlist I’ve created below. If they were to focus on their dark, satanic, and violent lyrics and lay them over hard, bass-heavy beats, there’d be no stopping them.

$uicide I$ Painle$$.

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