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Ski Mask the Slump God - Sin City the Mixtape Music Album Reviews

Ski Mask the Slump God - Sin City the Mixtape Music Album Reviews
On his new mixtape, the South Florida rapper is content honing the blade of his technical precision while his peers take direct stabs at crossover success.

Since the release of his major-label debut STOKELY in 2018, Fort Lauderdale’s Ski Mask the Slump God has been surprisingly quiet for an artist known for his full-throated vocal aggression. His hiatus has been especially noticeable in a rap industry that devours trends as fast as it can produce them. But given the details of his personal life and career, it’s understandable that the artist born Stokeley Goulbourne took an extended sabbatical. After the sudden deaths of two of his closest friends and associates, XXXTentacion and Juice WRLD, Ski Mask felt like he needed to slow down, lest he risk becoming a similar kind of cautionary tale. He re-emerges with Sin City the Mixtape, which isn’t so much a comeback or reinvention as it is predominantly a showcase for his unfiltered, unaccompanied flow.

Like the film that shares the mixtape’s title, Ski Mask’s music is self-aware, playfully experimenting with rap tropes while still embodying its genre. Nothing on Sin City the Mixtape is as self-consciously hybrid or cross-genre as XXX’s hardcore-tinted ballads, but Ski Mask doesn’t seem to have the same rockstar ambitions. He’s rather content honing the blade of his technical precision while his peers take direct stabs at crossover success.

Ski Mask reissued his debut this year as two separate EPs, The Lawless Cuts and The Party Cuts, which sums up his catalog. One half skews more pop, the other more punk, both overflowing with energy and aggression; once in a blue moon, a softer side emerges, like on Sin City’s opening, “Intro,” where he flexes a Kid Cudi-like warble before the beat switches and his flow goes up to 11. Peel back the main vocal track and you’ll find layers of ad-libs, a torrent of guttural exclamations—if you took a shot every time Ski Mask yells “Yaw!” you’d black out by the second track. The beats are hyperactive, fast-paced, and prone to quick switches—“ADMIT IT” is built around a loop of frenetic bells, while “The Matrix” is almost exclusively dominated by fat bass tones and the familiar rattling drums of regular associate Ronny J.

The SoundCloud rap movement isn’t usually praised or even considered for technical delivery, but Ski Mask is something of a rapper’s rapper, with a dense chopper flow. The words themselves aren’t complicated, but there’s a lot of them in a little bit of time. Ski Mask specializes in tracks that are tightly wrapped and sawed-off—half the songs on Sin City don’t even make it past the two-minute mark. He cites Busta Rhymes as a formative influence and recently freestyled over “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” for LA Leakers, but at its weakest moments his fast rapping is less Flipmode and more like Eminem’s unlistenable opus “Rap God.”

The Slump God’s flow is in-your-face not only in sound but in the deliberate grotesquery of certain lyrics: “My flow infectious/Can almost hear the pus,” he raps on “Dr. Seuss.” But his affinity for confrontation isn’t just aesthetic; it’s political. His first single post-hiatus was last summer’s uprising-informed “Burn the Hoods,” which redirects his typical boastful rage in a more constructive manner. The political statements sprinkled into his lyrics are more trolling shit-posts than thoughtful theses, but the bluntness of his views can be refreshing, especially when compared to the relative political disengagement of so much SoundCloud rap beyond a general sense of doomer nihilism.

Ski Mask’s aesthetic universe is transparent in the mixtape’s song titles, evoking the childish psychedelia of Dr. Seuss, and alluding to the mythic icons of comic books and Arthurian legend (“Merlin’s Staff” and “Metal Magneto”). The references are on hyper-drive to the point of exhaustion, the lyrical equivalent of a muted video playlist of YouTube poop and trippy pop culture ephemera ripped from VHS tapes projected on the wall of a rave: it’s all about the image and the aesthetic, sans context. Ski Mask name-drops American Dad on “Fire Hazard,” and the overly media literate works of Seth McFarlane seem like a useful point of comparison—like the constant spoofs and parodies of Family Guy, Ski Mask’s references are more non-sequitur than purposeful allusion; they’re a frenetic collage of horror movies, children’s cartoons, commercial brand names, and video games.

The moshpit parts like the Red Sea for a moment of solace amid the storm on “Lost in Time,” a rare unguarded performance from an artist who is constantly in a fighting stance. It’s a fragile and sensitive look behind the ski mask, and one of the few honest indications of where he’s been at mentally over the past few years: “All in life that glitters, it could turn bitter/It could turn to mold.” Over a sparse guitar line on closing track “Mental Magneto,” Ski Mask brings together his more introspective side with the fast and furious style he’s known for, as intricate bars about PTSD and paranoia race out of his mouth alongside sitcom references.

Though the black-and-white style of the project’s cover and accompanying videos are obviously channeling Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez’s edgelord classic, there’s also a more personal connection to the title: Sin City is the rap name Ski Mask’s father performed under. That kind of subtle tribute that’s bound to go unnoticed by most listeners speaks to how Ski Mask generally expresses himself. Most of the time he’s playing a rowdy comic book character, but if you look hard enough, you can hear his sincerity, struggle, and pain.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Ski Mask the Slump God - Sin City the Mixtape Music Album Reviews Ski Mask the Slump God - Sin City the Mixtape Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 Rating: 5

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