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Every once and while, there seems to be a rapper or rap group that the greater music community cannot peel their eyes away from. Whether it’s a nuanced stylistic surge or simply the enigmatic persona of a rapper, rap aficionados and average music lovers alike seem to gravitate towards different artists. Whether it is the artists’ inexplicable ability to craft unparalleled lyrical combinations or simply the production of singular hit song, rappers seem to rise and fall in popularity overnight. However, as our society has continually ventured into tumultuous times, one group has managed to unearth an unlikely audience of fans across the globe.
$uicideboy$ hail from the streets of the infamous 7th ward in Crescent City, New Orleans, blending screamo, punk rock with hauntingly heavy rap (a combination that may initially seem unpalatable). Aristos Pertros, commonly referred to as Ruby da Cherry (aka $now Leopard aka $uicide Leopard) and Scott Arceneaux Jr. referred to as $crim (aka $lick $loth aka $uicide Christ aka $lim), the two members of $uicideboy$, have seemingly tapped into the anger and visceral energy that many teens and young adults feel today. They present an outlet for the frustration and alienation that many of their fans possess, as a product of the volatile, often depressing world we live in today.
The punk rock/screamo element of the group’s style is quite apparent, in songs such as “Memoirs of a Gorilla” and “Do you Believe in God?” While these songs may be tailored to specific audience sub-set, the group has also enjoyed widespread popularity as with the song “South Side Suicide” featuring the mysterious rapper “Pouya.”
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The sheer variability and nuanced-approach that $uicideboy$ have undertaken throughout their songs stems from a variety of sources. Whether they are rapping about Hell or simply death, there is often a source of inspiration that led to such lyrics, one of them being the duo’s troubled upbringings.
Ruby and $crim are actually cousins, growing up within a few miles of one another. Although they were close in proximity, the divergent backgrounds of the two $uicideboy$ partially explains the radical nature of their songs’ as Ruby participated in a variety of punk bands. Ruby was extremely talented, seemingly able to play any instrument, yet his skills felt wasted. He often performed with a set of upper-class kids from the suburbs who simply did not have the drive nor foresight, that Ruby had. He eventually forsook the world of rock, searching for a new avenue to employ his passion.
At the same time, $crim was developing his abilities as a rapper, DJ-ing at a number of local venues and performing wherever/whenever he could. Inspired by rappers such as T-Pain, who utilized simple operating systems like “Garage Band,” $crim continued to make music, while relentlessly searching for a producer to boost him into the spotlight. At the age of 13, $crim began to write songs and rap in order to accompany his DJ-ing, a decision that may underlie his unique style of rapping which he has been cultivating for years. However, both members struggled throughout their adolescent years, experiencing a number of psychological and addiction problems. Ruby continually battled depression and anxiety, as he became increasingly self-conscious and unsatisfied with his current life. On the other hand, $crim progressively fell into addiction after being introduced to Vicodin at the tender age of 13. He continued to deal drugs, descending further into his addiction, until Ruby came to him with a prospective plan to conquer their ills. Since they were both at crossroads in life and they shared a common passion for music, Ruby proposed that they depart from their current lives’ and pursue music as a profession.
Initially, $crim didn’t even want to perform while Ruby didn’t posses the confidence to perform onstage, or even rap for that matter. However, the idea of working an uneventful 9-5 job was not only repulsive, but soul crushing. As discussed in an interview with the podcast “No Jumper,” $crim stated that instead of working a 9-5 “I rather would blow my f****** brains out.” In an different interview with Mass Appeal when asked about the group’s development, $crim goes on to say “…there’s no plan b, no second option, if this doesn’t happen by the time I’m f****** 30, and that’s pushing it, I’m blowing my brains out.” Why work a job if you’re already dead on the inside? This mentality served as a driving force for the duo, as they dove head-first into the music industry. $crim was conveniently fired from his job as a furniture mover and with his new free time began making beats on beats on beats. The two cousins slowly began publishing their music, starting with laid-back tracks such as “$hark Attack (666 remix),” in 2014, featuring Ruby (known also as Oddy Nuff $now Leopard) as the sole vocalist. $crim primarily made beats during the duo’s early years, although he did enjoy features here and there, as on the drug-fueled song “$torage.” As the two reached their college-years, $lim used the money he had accumulated through Dj-ing and selling drugs to buy a new DJ setup. With the new setup, the two came to the realization that their music was better when they worked together. With this realization, Ruby finally convinced $lim to start rapping with him as a duo, instead of remaining behind the scenes as the DJ and thus, $uicideboy$ was born. In the same interview with Mass Appeal mentioned above, Ruby said that “…he (Scrim) would literally do a mixtape, like a 30 song mixtape, with original beats by him and then two days later would drop another 30 song mixtape.”
However, as the duo’s musical career progressed, as did $crim’s addiction to opiates. He attempted to hide his addiction from Ruby, but due to the brotherly nature of their relationship, it was impossible to cover-up his struggles for long. Ruby offered an ultimatum to $lim, either stop using or the group would be disbanded in its entirety, the latter leaving the two cousins dead (literally). Seeing as they just dropped their latest mixtape series “KILL YOURSELF Parts XVI-XX,” it’s safe to assume the two cousins are still alive and well (more or less).
When you dive into the lyrics behind each song, you are simultaneously thrust into the struggles of Ruby and $crim. After releasing “$outh $ide $uicide,” the duo’s music transformed, becoming more introspective and, as Ruby put it in the Mass Appeal interview, “vulnerable.” Ruby goes on to say “…the actual substance of the lyrics is depressing as shit, but if you’re feeling depressed as f*** and you listen to that song, you’ll feel a lot better knowing someone is going through the same thing, if not worse.” Instead of shying away from struggles such as depression, anxiety, anger, and addiction, the $uicideboy$ meet these struggles head on, making their lyrics therapeutic, which is one of the group’s goals.
$crim and Ruby have always struggled with their respective demons and they let you know it through their songs, which personally, is the most appealing aspect of their music. It’s hard, if not impossible, to actually associate with musical artists because they live such lavishly unrealistic lifestyles, which their music often reflects. Whether the artist is bragging about their $25K chain or new McLaren P1, it’s hard to relate to that way of life. It’s difficult to see the human side of artists who seemingly reside on this untouchable, immaculate platform, there’s no way to connect with the artists. $uicideboy$ have purposely avoided this path, distancing themselves from the materialism and vanity that consume many mainstream musical artists. I strongly encourage you to go to the $uicideboy$ Genius and just read their annotated lyrics, even if you don’t enjoy their music. By simply reading their lyrics, you get a sense for their perspective, individual struggles, and stylistic differences. I find myself gravitating towards specific songs by the group depending on my mood, whether I’m pissed off or just want to relax. No two songs are the same lyrically and each song’s beat is different than the last, as the duo manifests a different attitude or perspective in each song.
As said, $uicideboy$ just dropped their latest “KILL YOURSELF XVI-XX” mixtape set, which you can find through their Soundcloud. All their older mixtapes/releases can also be found on their Soundcloud page. You can also find their “Kill YOURSELF” saga, parts XVI-XX, on Spotify, along with a 61 song selection from their earlier mixtapes (“Songswewontgetsuedforbutattheendofthedaywegonnadieanyways”) and a variety of miscellaneous singles. Apple music also features a nearly identical collection of their songs as Spotify.
In terms of upcoming $uicideboy$ projects, there is a lot to look forward to. For starters, the group recently released a mixtape with Juicy J titled “Highly Intoxicated Mixtape prod. by $uicideboy$“. The project was released on September 18th at 12 PM (ET) and features an array of artists from A$AP Rocky to Smokepurp. Additionally, Pouya mentioned that he’s currently working with the group to release a “$outh $ide $uicide Mixtape 2.” There have also been talks of the group dropping a new album, which $crim hinted at in a recent Instagram post, however, there has yet to be an official public announcement regarding such speculation. Finally, if you want to catch a live show, make sure to check G59 website for show information on their upcoming “Global Epidemic Tour.”