Lil Skies is a 19-year-old kid out of a "redneck town" in Pennsylvania whose name has, for the last six months, been followed almost immediately by the word "buzz." He came up through SoundCloud, he's good-looking and charismatic, he's got a few face tattoos, and he sounds like a mish-mash of every rising pop-trap star who's shot up the Billboard charts in the past 18 months. He's probably going to be really famous. So, if you're not already, it's time to get acquainted. Here's his new video for "Lettuce Sandwich," the latest single from his debut, Life of a Dark Rose, which came out last month:
There's no way that you watched that shocked, wondering where he got his flow. "Lettuce Sandwich" is written to a formula but delivered effortlessly; it's not there to smash conventions, and nor is Lil Skies himself. He introduces himself here by rapping over two notes: "You want to hang with a rock star, live a fast life and get high / We 'gon come through, shut the block down, Make 'em lay low like drive-bys." It's all pull-ups and skinny-armed mosh pits, ghosting girls and Wiz Khalifa references.
The same goes for "Red Roses," his biggest hit so far with over 35 million YouTube views. It goes a little further than "Lettuce Sandwich," using three notes rather than two, though it covers the same cautious braggadocio. "I was destined for this life, this is my destiny / Friends wanna be friends when you doing the most," for example.
They're both basically scrawny tracks though, more a showcase for Skies's pop-crossover potential than standalone hits. It's a shame, too, because that pop-crossover moment could happen right now. Someone just needs to write Skies a serious hook or chorus. That's it! This guy's flow is like tofu—it'll work brilliantly when stirred into something flavorful.
He's dabbled with the idea of building around tunes, here and there. On Life of a Dark Rose, "Garden" is a more-than-passable slow-jam, closer "Nowadays" clings onto its one melodic idea and sticks it on repeat, and "The Clique" works around a bright, candy-flip beat from the ever-interesting Philadelphia producer Maaly Raw.
Maybe "The Clique" is the key here. When Lil Skies gets his version of Lil Uzi Vert's Maaly Raw-produced "Do What I Want"—a brash earworm with a huge hook that doesn't rely on prowess as much as aura—then things will take off immediately. In the meantime, get familiar with the kid. It's only a matter of time before he finds a fourth note.
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