The boys are back with a brand new, full-length LP to kick off the new decade. Following the Louisiana duo’s debut studio album “I Want To Die in New Orleans,” vocalists Ruby da Cherry and $crim of $uicideboy$ have certainly solidified their reputation in the horrorcore scene over the past couple of years. Despite my affinity for their previous breadth of work, “STOP STARING AT THE SHADOWS” serves as an anticlimactic departure from their trademark sound and dynamic lyricism. I guess a part of them did die in New Orleans, after all.
Do not get me wrong, this LP does not make me any less of a $uicideboy$ fan. However, it is definitely odd for rappers of this caliber to hit a sophomore slump this far into their career. The way I see it, this new album is their effort to adapt to the viral popularity of the mumble rap scene.
The charts do not lie: SoundCloud rap sells. Between the catchy hooks, muffled beats and TikTok trends that have caught the world by storm, modern relevance in hip-hop is more about blending in than standing out.
Apparently, Ruby and $crim wanted a piece of the action themselves. Not even three tracks into the album comes their clout manifesto titled “I Wanna Be Romanticized,” in which Ruby boasts about private planes, expensive cars and fancy homes. No matter the content, any group of lyrics can be manipulated by unique vocal dynamism and production value, but the entire song sounds like something off of a Trippie Redd project, boasting ironically upbeat instrumentals, heavy pitch shifting and depressed undertones.
Seven tracks later is “Bizarro,” which is pretty much a glorified love letter to 21 Savage. Although its slightly darker undertones and various innuendos about sex and codeine are subjectively fun to listen to, $crim might as well talk about how many M’s he has in his bank account, because his voice and flow sound exactly like 21 Savage.
Much to my surprise, there is actually a silver lining to this album’s sense of emulation. “…And To Those I Love, Thanks For Sticking Around” and “That Just Isn’t Empirically Possible” sound just like Lil Peep, but their history of collaboration and shared roots in emo rap make these songs sound like a nod to an old friend rather than a couple of copycat tunes. Whether or not this was intentional, the creative decisions that led up to these two tracks seem to be their saving grace.
Despite the inherent flaws, “STOP STARING AT THE SHADOWS” is a single, unified project. I still have high hopes for the future of $uicideboy$.
Their impressive track record is nothing to shake a stick at, so if the byproduct of several years of iconic, original music is 26 minutes of $crim and Ruby trying to find themselves in their music again, all I can do is sit back and listen.