By Fletcher Allen, Opinion
For some, it’s all too easy to fall into a dark place characterized by self-destructive addiction and depression, especially in a time when an estimated 130 plus people die a day from opioid overdoses. Scrim, one half of the New Orleans rap duo $uicideboy$, speaks on his experience going through drug rehabilitation in his new solo album, “A Man Rose from the Dead.”
The album cover obviously invokes a Christ-like image, with Scrim in dark lighting stretching his arms into a crucifixion pose. He said he feels like someone who has been rebirthed from death, referencing his struggle with substance abuse he has overcome in the last year.
The tone of the record and overall sound are a departure from the usual grimy, distorted and dark $uicideboy$ formula. Along with getting clean from drug abuse, Scrim has upgraded his production style into something glossier and more focused, reminiscent of modern pop trap songs. Not to say that the themes and songs don’t feature the boy$’s usual abrasive, self-made attitudes.
The chorus of the song “Tell Me When I’m Good Enough” shows a new approach Scrim is taking to express himself, while still retaining old themes fans want to hear.
“All I wanted was just you and me / I tried hard, tried hard for you to see / Even if you are a memory / Tomorrow without you is hard to see,” Scrim said in his new song.
On the surface of the song, Scrim seems to be rapping about a lost love or friend. However, given Scrim’s substance abuse history and the context of the album being made while he was alone in a condo going through rehab, the lost love or person could be interpreted as the feeling the multiple drugs he used to abuse gave him.
Many of the songs aren’t as toned-down and subdued. Songs like, “Portola (Blood Clot)” read like the entry straight out of a diary belonging to someone going through multiple crises at once.
“Spaced out, always looking up / Sleepwalking, I don’t wanna wake up, no / Too many pills, body won’t budge / Too many ounces, reason why I’m slumped / Rather stay numb to it, oblivious / I been up for days, delirious / Bury my emotions for periods / Deeper that I get, insidious.”
The song is carried by a tightly produced minimal synth lead and razor sharp percussion with a smooth 808 underneath. Most of the album can be characterized by its minimal, yet focused production. It’s sounds that fans are used to, Memphis-trap ala Three Six Mafia inspired sounds, but with much smoother and clearer mixing and vocals.
The 50-minute album does return to a grimier, more distorted sound the boy$ are fond of, like on the song, “Nightmare from the Northside.” The song has a ‘chopped and screwed,’ hypnotic synth lead and loud, punchy drums. The lyrics are laden with in-your-face violence and epithets the New Orleans duo are known for.
“Came a long way from Jeffer Drive, tryna stay alive / Now they screamin’ “$uicide,” down to ride, down to die / It’s the G59, throw the sign, three fingers high / Fuck the other side, no matter who it be, can suck on my / Motherfucking dick, hold the spit unless you is a bitch /
Hoes give me head while I’m dead, overdosed and shit.”
“A Man Rose from the Dead” delivers what fans expect of Scrim, while also showing a cleaner side of the rapper/producer which reflects his new sobriety. It’s a return to the classics in a sense, the drugs, the depression, the violence. But with a new, extremely well produced, experimental and borderline psychedelic twist.
Before the album dropped May 15, 2020, Scrim sent a letter to fans about the album via Twitter. It reads in part:
“I started making this project as soon as I was able to stay in my own condo after being in rehab for three months. I didn’t even know I was making a “solo” project. I was just trying to see if I could make ANYTHING sober… (I wanted) something that told my story. Songs that represent all range of emotions I experienced… This projects means A LOT and is deeply personal to me. I sincerely hope you enjoy it as much as I do.”