By Jack M. Angelo, Senior Video Director
Underground Hip-Hop has existed since the genre was pulled from the basements into the mainstream in the 80s and 90s. At that time, the typical underground act not still confined to an actual basement lived on niche labels like Rawkus, or Stones Throw, and were listened to by mostly-White, suburban kids carrying backpacks filled with dozens of increasingly obscure tapes ready for play at any moment. Since then, Hip-Hop has become the most popular music genre in the world, the sound of the zeitgeist, but there’s still plenty of music sporting the Hip-Hop label that has no desire to reach the mainstream.
Much of this music lives on Soundcloud, a music-streaming site where anyone can upload and listen to anything for free. The wave of “Soundcloud Rappers,” often from the south, especially southern parts of Florida, has been making an impact on the rap scene for a few years now, with some of the newly well-known leaders of this new underground “Soundcloud Rap” movement including acts such as XXXTentacion, Lil Pump, and Smokepurrp.
Situated just outside of this specific niche, however, is one of the originators of this sound, the New Orleans-based duo $UICIDEBOY$. The duo is best compared to early Soundcloud acts like Bones, but their most obvious influence lies with dark Hip-Hop collective Three 6 Mafia. The $UICIDEBOY$ frequently sample the group’s early work, and had the chance to work with Three 6 member Juicy J this year, producing much of his mixtape Highly Intoxicated.
$UICIDEBOY$ have been making waves for years, and have been darlings of the underground scene since their inception. The two members, Ruby da Cherry and $lick $loth (both of whom go by many other names), employ heavy bass, crisp percussion, and dark samples to create an eerie, enveloping atmosphere on all of their songs, most of which do not break the two-minute mark. These short songs, however, give the duo the opportunity to constantly release new music, with dozens of projects under their belt so far, each song racking up millions of plays on Soundcloud.
On December 1, the BOY$ came to the D.C. area on their “Global Epidemic” tour, performing at the Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD. The show was sold out, and by 7:30 p.m. the place was packed. The stage was set with statues of various figures lined along the back of the stage. This group included a high-ranking religious official, a soldier and a replica of Donald Trump with Joker face paint and his pants down by his ankles.
The performances were reportedly to start at 8, with the BOY$ scheduled to come out at about 8:30 p.m. after a short DJ set. However, when 8:25 rolled around, the stage was still void of performers. At this point, the crowd began to grow anxious, becoming visibly and audibly upset. Some pulled out their phones to check social media, where Oddy Nuff the Snow Leopard had posted an update just 5 minutes prior, twenty minutes after the scheduled start time.
Finally, at 8:33 p.m., a DJ took the stage and began to hype up the crowd by playing songs slightly closer to the genre of the $UICIDEBOY$ than had previously been playing as background music. After a few songs, the DJ found the right track, and the crowd slowly began to take on the character it would keep for the rest of the night: mayhem. When the headliners finally took the stage at 9:10 p.m., the crowd’s intensity reached a boiling point that never faded.
Anyone who has seen the $UICIDEBOY$’s most viewed music video “PARIS,” currently standing at over 40 million views, will have a sense of what this show looked like. The crowd was closer to that of a heavy metal concert than a typical rap show, with the audience moving, swaying and slamming into each other for most of the night. At times, both $crim and Yung Snow would demand the audience create mosh pits. “I don’t care which side you pick, just pick a fucking side,” Oddy instructed.
As the next song would drop, the crowd would collide in a gloriously brutal mash of bodies, jumping, lunging, and flailing. Though the BOY$ encouraged the chaos, Ruby made sure to tell the crowd that, “if someone falls down, you stop everything that you are doing and pick them up.”
Yung Mutt and $uicide Chri$t played several dozen songs throughout the night, and interacted with the crowd well enough to preserve a constantly high energy level for most of the night. The only lulls in the set were due to factors outside of the duo’s control, such as when the onstage laptop malfunctioned and the music cut out. For a couple minutes, as the DJ worked to resolve the issue, Budd Dwyer vamped by speaking with the audience.
“So, how are you guys doing,” he began. “Are you guys Snapchatting me? Fuck you,” Lil Remains continued.
The other issues the show, or more specifically, the audience, had to deal with, were the heat and lack of water. This is a common issue at crowded concert venues, but the usually stellar Fillmore seemed to handle the situation poorly. Throughout the entire 2-plus hour show, the guards gave out exactly 4 small cups of water to a few members at the front of the audience, despite the crate of water bottles sitting on stage right, which went untouched. When asked, the security would say there is no water, and that the case was for the artists, even though the performers had their own supply on the DJ table.
Due to this intense heat, several audience members asked to be removed from the front, and security obliged by dragging them across the barrier. Crowd surfers also met the same fate of being dragged through the front of the crowd only to be tossed aside in the security pit. One apparently inebriated patron was pulled all the way from the crowd through the offstage exit, distracting both of the rappers as they recited their lyrics. The actions even prompted $carecrow to insist to the security guards that, “You don’t have to be so rough with them, man.”
Despite these minor faults, the show was exciting from start to finish, with the $UICIDEBOY$ fully immersing themselves and the audience into their own dark sound and enveloping atmosphere. As Ruby and $crim jump-kicked and head banged their way through 25-plus songs, the crowd thrashed about in circle pits, moshes, and walls of death until the very end of the encore. This New Orleans rap duo is an incredibly unique live experience to be witnessed from this new generation of Hip-Hop.
These incredible photos from the $UICIDEBOY$ show at The Fillmore, in Silver Spring, MD, on December 1, 2017, were taken by StayUp.News senior video director and photographer Jack M. Angelo:
StayUp.News documents social and political issues through Hip-Hop, amplifying unheard voices in a language all their own. But we can’t do it without you. Support this important mission: