(THE BUCKET LIST PART 2WO)
Over the past couple of weeks I have been fascinated/frankly obsessed with the California based distorted trap rapper/cartoon creator Lil Darkie, created by Joshua Hamilton under the label of 'Spider Gang' (a collective attempting to have the same level of impact as a Brockhampton or a Odd Future, but with a much more hellish, in your face and distorted twist.). Tracks like 'Genocide', 'Imperfect' and 'Holocaust' have been almost daily listens ever since @TreyLikesBands played one of his tracks on a voice call on Discord. It's suffice to say i've been addicted to his blend of hardcore trap music.
But, because of this music, he's also been labeled racist, homophobic, transphobic, anti-semetic, and pretty much every bad thing in the book due to controversial lyrics and music videos. Uh oh indeed.
Side note: when praising Lil Darkie, to quote @Toasterqueen12 directly, 'This is an up-and-coming rapper and like so many up-and-coming rappers, he has the potential to be problematic.', meaning that this guy could be the next XXXTENTACION and just do some horrible acts of cruelty if he goes down that road. And of coarse I don't want him to do that, but i'm putting this paragraph here as a 'get out of jail free' card in case this guy turns out to be a complete DOUCHE. From interviews he seems like a down to earth and honest person, but if he does do anything to do with sexual assault or any form of hate crime, then I will stop listening to him obviously.
Alright: let's try and say how I think this album slaps.
By GOD this album is filled to the brim with banger after banger after BANGER, while having a loose concept of Lil Darkie confronting his own ego and identity, while switching musical styles constantly. To the grungy punk styles of 'MOVE BECAUSE YOU CAN' and 'rap music', the more somber moments like 'where is darkie?' and 'THE SANDS OF TIME', to the blown out and genuinely destructive trap stylings of 'COMPOSITION III IN RED, WHITE, AND BLACK', 'GOOD MOURNING!' and , this album stylistically is not just one note, and never boring. It's music that keeps you on your toes, constantly smacking you over the face with the hard bass and drums, with catchy hooks and melodies that are so goddamn infectious that it's genuinely concerning how much I listen to it.
And sweet Jesus are these songs catchy. I do not do drugs of any kind (just not into it) but I have had ' I AM ADDICTED TO DRUGS AND TIRED OF IT' and 'rap music' stuck in my head all fucking week. These songs worm their way into your brain, and they stay there, making memorable, in your face and memorable rap music that not only can start a killer moshpit, but also can make you stare off into the sun and think about life. It's the duality of the music Lil Darkie is making: the Ying and the Yang, the heavy and offensive and the quiet and wholesome. There is some really interesting artistry to what makes Lil Darkie so much more engaging then any other 'Soundcloud' rapper i've encountered.
But...there is the elephant in the room. The lyrical content. And if i'm being honest...it's not that offensive?
To me, offensive is preaching ideologies that I do not agree with. Racism being one of them, and I don't believe that Lil Darkie is blatantly preaching racist ideologies in his music videos. In a interview with Lil Darkie on Kult Classic, he says that he has been racially profiled for being Indian, and that the characters design isn't based on old fashioned racist cartoons that everyone says the character is based on. It actually seems, to me, based more on Steamboat Willy, Cuphead and maybe some Psychicpebbles type drawings.
And yes, Lil Darkie says very offensive language and says slurs, but literally the biggest names in hip hop have made a name by saying that kind of language. And trans/POC/LGBT+ reviewers are here praising this content, so to say that Lil Darkie is racist or homophobic or transphobic...yeah he's a little edgy and says controversial words to stir up some shock, but there is no hate towards these groups in his content...so I don't see the issue. I don't think that a mixed race and bisexual man is genuinely transphobic or hateful, especially when in interviews he does say that he is making music for positiveness sake, and not to spread hate. Is it edgy? Yes, no doubt. But it's not hateful. Also, if you are calling Lil Darkie transphobic and calling people who listen to Lil Darkie homophobic yet still listen to Eminem and other edgy rappers and say 'it's just a character, Eminem is the goat!' then maybe reevaluate why your calling people out.
So yes, he does go for the gut in terms of shock value, but does that make the music unlistenable? Well, it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea. It's loud, abrasive, very industrial and pretty intense. I'm not going to be popping a song like 'MOVE BECAUSE YOU CAN' to my friends who exclusively listen to Beach House, but I can definitely say that I really loved the overall package this album has. It's one of my most consistently records of the year, and i'm glad saying that I highly, HIGHLY recommend this album. Seriously, if you are a fan of the more experimental side of hip hop (i.e. Death Grips, JPEGMAFIA or even the more aggressive side of Tyler, The Creator), then I would HIGHLY recommend this album. It's really really intense and aggressive music that people like myself really connect with.
OK that should be ok, I shouldn't get canceled for that! Let me check the comments and oh dear i'm a Nazi.
Favorite Jams: rap music, COMPOSITION III IN RED, WHITE, AND BLACK, I AM ADDICTED TO DRUGS AND TIRED OF IT, COMPOSITION XI
Lest Favorite: THE PAINT WALKING
Edit: Ok...THE PAINT WALKING slaps. Like, a lot. So...new least favorite is THE SANDS OF TIME.