My Ears Need a Bandaid

New Wave artist lilbootycall, (too cool for spaces or capital lettering, apparently), is blowing up on social media. The way the industry has had to adapt to the influx of independent, SoundCloud-made rappers, is by using social media status as proof of concept that an artist can command a following, and so, now, the fact that this kid is blowing up on social media, unfortunately, means something. Lilbootycall (I’m just going to capitalize the first letter of his name here), reports that he began his musical ambitions when he got hit by a truck while riding to work on his bike. Is it going too far to say that I wish the truck had finished the job? Probably. In any case, Lilbootycall apparently had a spiritual awakening with this incident, and his subsequent epiphany was that he was destined to be a famous rapper. His words. Ok, fine. Not his words. But they easily could be.

“Judging by the DM’s overflowing from his inbox, it’s connecting.”

He claims it was this incident that put him on the path to making music. He started out using Garage Band, the Apple App that set out with the intent to simplify and gamefy the DAW experience. From the sound of his music, he’s likely still using Garage Band. It must take him over an hour to create these songs, and I hope he isn’t pushing himself too hard, given his brush with death has left him in a state of what he calls “crippling social anxiety” making it hard to “chat up someone cute.” He amends this statement in his self-authored bio by saying, “Judging by the DM’s overflowing from his inbox, it’s connecting.” Weird flex, but ok.

 

goes on to say that his music combines “emotional catharsis with catchy hooks,” and then adds this little nugget of gold, describing it as, “self-deprecating,” always a good look, “and nonchalant,” which is a euphemism for decidedly lazy, “but legitimately lives up to its Texas rap heritage.” As someone who makes rap music in Texas, someone who was born and raised in Texas — no. No, he does not. I’m not sure what this is living up to, except maybe hip hop’s slow, withering demise at the hands of these teenage “lils” who have been popping up left and right over the last five years.

“Bandaid” is lyricism dead, gone, and rolling over in its grave, presumably having died from suicide after hearing this song…I hope he brought enough bandaids for the whole class.

For someone who claims to have “crippling social anxiety,” Lilbootycall is doing very well on social media. He’s verified on Instagram and Twitter and has 250,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. He follows the “lil” formula to a T, removing any trace of a real personality in the process. I’m sure record labels would love a kid like this on their roster — an unfortunate truth of the changing industry. In fact, he’s so well suited for this, I have to wonder, is this kid an industry plant? Scratch that. If an industry plant grew into a tree, Lilbootycall would be the fruit that fell off of it. I liked it when Blackbear made “Anxiety” into a song, but this kid has made it into his only defining characteristic, not to mention multiple social media memes. In his latest release from May 2019, a song called “Bandaid,” Lilbootycall does what I would have thought impossible a decade ago, releasing a song that’s all hooks and no lyrics. “Bandaid” is lyricism dead, gone, and rolling over in its grave, presumably having died from suicide after hearing this song. “Bandaid” reads like someone took the hook from three different songs and just repeated them until the song was over. Which, mercifully, is after only 2 minutes and 15 seconds. Here’s an example of one such hook in the song: “Yellow cup, I’m planning to withstand against my fate/ Hella cuts and bandaids on my wrists, look at my face/ Jesus piece up on me I been praying for better days but/I been balling, missing old girls every day, ’cause lately…” And Repeat. The level of laziness here makes me want to slit my wrists too. I hope he brought enough bandaids for the whole class.

Yellow cup, I’m planning to withstand against my fate/ Hella cuts and bandaids on my wrists, look at my face/ Jesus piece up on me I been praying for better days but/I been balling, missing old girls every day, ’cause lately…

This is very much emo hip hop (more emo than hip hop), which is serving a populace readily consuming music. This is music made by and made for, a depressed teenager. Ever since hip hop became the most popular genre, it stopped being music made for people in the community and started being geared towards those who consume the most music (mainly teenagers); that’s why we have music like this now. When you make music for everyone, you make it for no one. It’s great that hip hop has become such a widespread musical phenomenon, and that everyone now sees it the same way hip hop heads have always seen it, but it’s sad that a genre which once spoke to us exclusively, now speaks primarily to the audience which consumes the most music. Namely, this is white suburban teenagers. Not only is hip hop becoming less relatable to the community that birthed it, it feels less and less like the mainstream still belongs to us. That’s a real problem for me, and I think it’s a real problem for a lot of people who genuinely care about this genre. If we keep consuming music like this, hip hop will need a lot more than a bandaid to recover.

-ERINEM

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