In the 91 degree heat on Sunday, fans decked out in tight jeans and black t-shirts with slogans like “Smoke meth and hail Satan” all flocked to Providence Amphitheatre to see this hardcore hip-hop show.
I point out the audience’s fashion not only because I admire their dedication to their aesthetic despite the sweltering temperature, but because it reflects how hip-hop heads have embraced grunge culture. While new music is moving away from acoustic instrumentation towards electronic production, the intense emotion and do-it-yourself style of making music within the Soundcloud hip-hop scene is very similar to that of 90’s grunge artists.
Performers like $uicideboy$ and Denzel Curry infused the heavy, angst-riddled lyrics of older artists like Kurt Cobain with newer trap beats — there’s a reason why Curry has a song called “Clout Cobain.” Within that song, and many of his other tracks, Curry implies that his rise to fame has led him to suffer paranoia and suicidal ideation. Curry even covered a song by the infamous Soundcloud rapper XXXtentacion, known for being one of the first to bring this emo lyrical style to trap music.
$uicideboy$, as implied by their name, also frequently reference suicide, as well as drug addiction. At one point on stage, they even mimicked the motion of popping pills, which seemed to really hype up the crowd. In general, the predominantly young audience seemed eager to release their pent-up emotions, opening up mosh pits as soon as openers like City Morgue and Shoreline Mafia came on — and in the end, it was $uicideboy$ that really seemed to bring the fans together.
Written by Julianne Waters, edited by Fengxue Zhang.