7 10

$uicideboy$ 'New World Depression' G*59 Records


On their fourth studio album, the New Orleans duo continue to mine the trenches of the human experience while inching closer towards the light

In a crowded field of underground rappers informed by mental suffering and substance abuse, $uicideboy$ offer something distinctive. New Orleans duo (and first cousins) Ruby da Cherry and $crim blend cloud rap, witch house and southern horrorcore to confront the world demons-first, mapping the psychic landscape of a generation raised in an America that is online, in crisis, and addicted to opioids.

Emerging from the primordial soup of early-2010s SoundCloud, $uicideboy$ sit somewhere between the environmental violence of “phonk” revivalists SpaceGhostPurrp and Lil Ugly Mane, and the interior distress of emo rappers like Lil Peep and XXXTentacion. Their sound is murky and cold, manic and downtrodden, switching from rapid-fire bars about glory and excess, to slurred confessions at the crossroads of personal crisis and societal indifference. 

Their fourth studio album, New World Depression, doesn’t reach for new subject matter as much as it reframes the old. After constructing their mythology around addiction and suicide (the project began with a pact: they would either become successful, or they would kill themselves), Ruby and $crim got sober a few years ago. Their sound has taken a lighter turn since then. The grittier surfaces of their production have been smoothed over with flurries of late-night brass, jazz piano and strings, and their paranoid bars have given way to a sense of clarity – they often talk in past tense, of how things used to be. There’s a fresh sharpness to their delivery on New World Depression, too; a weightless calm washes over the whole record that would previously only appear in flashes.

The album has its fair share of afterparty introspections (Lone Wolf Hysteria) and beat-riding homages to Cash Money Records (Drag ‘Em to the River (Totalitarian Remix), which revolves around a sample of Drag ‘Em N Tha River by fellow Louisiana natives U.N.L.V.). However, it also features some of their most conventional songwriting to date. Reflective single Are You Going to See the Rose in the Vase, or the Dust on the Table? is as close as they’ve come to pop song structure, replete with melodic verses and an actual chorus (something they don’t typically bother with).

When darkness intrudes, it’s often a result of the outside world. The hazy Misery in Waking Hours opens with a news anchor introducing an interview with Mississippi ‘truck stop killer’ John Hughes. The minimal All of My Problems Always Involve Me is interrupted by a disclaimer stating they don’t want their unreleased music or videos to be released after they die – something that happens with frequency in their genre, which has seen an alarming number of young substance-related deaths.

In the face of oblivion, $uicideboy$ have been living fast. Since their formation in 2014, they’ve released 35 EPs and 300 songs before their first album, not to mention the decade they spent making music separately (Ruby in punk bands, $crim as a DJ and producer). The most impressive thing about them, then, might be their consistency. While their appeal is evident in billions of streams and a rapid fanbase that unpacks each new release with a Reddit ‘mega thread’, the duo has always operated outside of the mainstream. They don’t get radio play, they don’t do much press, and they self-release everything through their label G*59 Records (though they have a distribution deal with The Orchard). As a result, the duo still hops on each release like they have something to prove. 

In response to fans saying they missed the “old” $UICIDEBOY$ – something that tends to happen when cult favourites switch it up – their previous album, 2022’s Sing Me a Lullaby, My Sweet Temptation, was a deliberate table-flip. A mutant showcase of everything they were capable of, it featured a gentler sound overall, as well as experimentations with Auto-Tune and lyrics that gestured towards a light at the end of a tunnel they had spent years crawling around in. New World Depression takes that same grab-bag approach, refines it and continues its journey towards deliverance. The darkness is still there, but perhaps they’re learning to live alongside it rather than under the weight of it.