Ski Mask the Slump God’s Stokeley is his best album of 2018

The Florida rapper’s latest album is unpredictable but consistently impressive from beginning to end.

Ski Mask the Slump God’s new album, Stokeley, shows his pop-culture references at their best. The album’s energy is always constant and does not disappoint. Each song feels like its own world–no two are the same, which makes the album more re-playable. Ski Mask deploys an arsenal of styles, including a soft, slow, smooth voice and his fast rapping speed to make this album unlike any of his previous ones.

The most popular song on the album is “Nuketown” featuring Juice Wrld. This song has various pop culture allusions, making references to some very common objects and entertainment. The earliest reference is at the very beginning of the song when the voice from the video game Mortal Kombat yells, “Round one. Fight!” Ski Mask is very clever with the lyrics in this song, rapping, “entertainment at night like Nick.” Broken down this line is talking about how Nickelodeon, the popular children television channel, had a nightly broadcast called “Nick at Nite.” In the next line, Ski says, “Michael Jackson, one glove, I hit,” which ties into the iconic one sparkly white glove wardrobe choice that  debut during Jackson’s performance of “Billie Jean.” Ski and many other rappers love to drink “lean”–a combination of cough syrup, Sprite and hard candy. Ski references lean when he raps, “Two girls, two cups, now I had to level up,” which alludes to the infamous pornographic film, “Two Girls One Cup,” changing it to “Two cups” or a double cup, which is the preferred method of drinking lean.

Born in Florida Ski Mask was a close friend of XXXTentacion, and the two were known for their collaborations. The track “Nuketown” pays subtle tribute to the slain rapper. On Juice Wrld’s verse, the very first line is “Cutthroat, love it when they run, ho,” referencing ILOVEITWHENTHEYRUN, a song by XXXTentacion posted early on his SoundCloud in 2015. This is not the first time Juice has commemorated a rapper whose life was taken. He has done this in the past past on the songs “Legend” and “Rich and Blind” where he pays tribute to X and Lil Peep. Juice Wrld’s appearance on “Nuketown” gives the song more life, pumping it up with an energetic vocal delivery that is over the top. This is unexpected from Juice Wrld who is famous for his heartbreak music with its moody, low-key delivery. This is arguably one of the best and most energetic songs on the album having a mix of a classical Ski Mask, spitting bars with his fast-paced flow, and the feature of Juice–a beloved musical artist.

On “Foot Fungus,” Ski raps over a modified version of Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” In the the first verse, Ski raps, “Uh, okay, baby be callin’ me Hercules cause the H on my waist, but this bitch here stands for Hermes,” referring to the French high-fashion luxury goods manufacturer. While the beat might sound familiar to some, Ski makes the influence of “Drop It Like It’s Hot” clear when he intones, “drop it on my cough” in a clear imitation of Snoop. The song takes you back to an earlier generation rap and is a very cool spin off of the Snoop classic.

In “Faucet Failure,” Ski mask is rapping all about his “drip”–the luxury life and the expensive clothes: “new grills, 10k, big lisp, diamonds dancing on my fist, no disc.” “Disc” might refer to a disco ball that reflects in different colours much like diamonds when they are clear and polished. He goes on to rap about his Maison Margiela shoes which cost in the range of five hundred to over a thousand dollars. The title “Faucet Failure” is very clever–when a faucet does not work it drips. Ski Mask raps this track alone with no features. It is so easy to vibe with a classical Ski Mask beat that perfectly fits his flow.

The energy of this album, which has entered Billboard’s top 10, comes from its unpredictability–you never know what will come next and that makes you want to listen to every song just to see if the beat or flow changes up. After the untimely death of his best friend XXXTentacion, Ski Mask claps back with an album that is so spontaneously produced you will never know what to expect.

Image:  Republic Records / Ski Mask the Slump God

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