The underground’s favourite hip-hop duo have done it once again. Undoubtably considered one of the most popular acts within the below-surface rap scene, $uicideboy$ have been building a huge cult following since 2014. The much anticipated release of their recently new album, ‘STOP STARING AT THE SHADOWS’, has landed itself some interestingly mixed opinions from die-hard GreyFiveNine fans. At 11 tracks with a sharp 24 minute run-time, I’m more than keen to dive in.
The album is unleashed with “All Dogs Go To Heaven” as the starting track, accompanied by a recurring synth rhythm that sounds as if it belongs in a retro arcade game. Still, this nostalgic feel is counteracted by the room-shaking trap bass, accompanied by Ruby da Cherry’s melodic vocals which flow expertly with $crim’s growly ones. Swiftly followed up by “I Wanna Be Romanticized”, a fast-paced yet sulky beat in which the New Orleans duo address the heavy topic of finding themselves ‘on the verge of suicide’.
The third track, “One Last Look At The Damage”, noticeably contrasted against the second. The lyrical content is unusually positive- ‘I f*cking made it to thirty without my legs breaking’- alongside an upbeat, carefree melody. “[whispers indistinctly]”, however, is an entirely melancholic trap-synth work of art. The trademark grimey rapping of $crim combined with Ruby’s hypnotic chanting about death and being buried beneath a cherry tree creates an equal divide of shining talent in this track. This one is definitely my favourite out of the eleven.
Another track that I particularly favoured is “MEGA ZEPH”. The rapping style holds similarities to Ghostemane (whom coincidentally is a previous $B collaboration) especially when paired with the ominous, anxiety-building trap beat that wouldn’t be out of place in a horror film soundtrack. The mastered screamo vocals that appear toward the end of the song are the cherry on top of this absolute banger. “Putrid Pride” talks about a common fear many of us struggle with: time, and the lack of control in which we have over how quickly the years seem to drift by. The dreamy, dazed beat is a good match for this topic. ‘Another year closer to death, time is ticking…’
“That Just Isn’t Empirically Possible” expresses the troubles of feeling as if you’re turning insane over the top of a chill instrumental. Take a word of advice – listen to this track with your eyes closed. You’ll be transported into a world where every horizon is a downtown New York cityscape on a warm July evening, a Marlboro Red in your hand and a soft breeze blowing against your face. “What the F*ck Is Happening” truly does live up to its title, with a million and one simultaneous layered sounds including a prolonged alarm noise that plays throughout the track. Merged with some hasty vocals, all of the pieces in this song fit together like a snug little puzzle.
My personal least favourite of the album, “Bizarro”, is most certainly ‘full of drugs’– codeine, cocaine, the list goes on. It’s not so much the lyrical content I dislike, rather the delivery and flow. The boy$ have many, many musical skills however these, unfortunately, weren’t showcased in this individual song. Moving on to “Scope Set”, one of the two singles from this album – a grungey track composed of lo-fi police sirens, gunshots, grain and explosions. This tune really reminds me of Grand Theft Auto – it makes me feel as if I’m taking part in a high speed police chase.
The other single, “F*ck Your Culture”, is without-a-doubt the protagonist of the 11 tracks. With haunting, demonic laugh tracks laced throughout the song, this is not one to be missed. It is a dedication to a couple of friends who have passed away, and the emotional passion really shows through the rapid, anarchic vocals & heavy bass notes. The album is concluded with “…And To Those I Love, Thanks For Sticking Around”, a slow-moving song with a heartening instrumental, the lyrics writing off a suicide note.
Despite the fact that ‘Eternal Grey’ will always and forever be the main resident of my $uicideboy$ heart and the new album is no comparison – I do think that ‘Stop Staring At The Shadows’ was worth the anticipation. A few very solid tracks made it justifiable. And after all, with hundreds of beautiful works by the duo already released, perhaps they simply have nothing to prove. 3/5.