Ski Mask the Slump God arrived on the rap scene at a time when his native land of south Florida was becoming a thriving scene in rap. He was able to originally enjoy success as a frequent collaborator of viral sensation XXXtentacion, but it has become increasingly clear over time that he is far more than X’s sidekick.
After a year of stellar releases and collaborations with successful artists outside of his peer group, (such as A$AP Ferg and Busta Rhymes) he released his debut mixtape, YouWillRegret on Island Records. On the surface, most listeners would be quick to categorize Ski Mask as yet another brain-dead, ad-lib filled, trap-heavy rapper- but listen closer and you’ll see something else.
It’s clear from listening to this tape that Ski Mask is having fun. He raps in a very quirky and even animated way, manipulating his voice in ways I’ve rarely seen. Despite this voice manipulation and the speed at which he can sometimes rap, he is very precise with his wording and never seems to trip over himself. The rhyme schemes he employs are weird and random at times, but so fun and energetic that they are impossible to deny.
One of my favorite things about Ski Mask’s music is the weird and obscure references he busts out. He’ll make references to pieces of media like Final Fantasy, Yu-gi-oh! and Kim Possible and seamlessly transitions them into a coherent rhyme. In fact, on the tape’s most popular single, ‘BabyWipe’, the chorus includes Ski Mask candidly discussing which Fantastic Four character he relates to. It’s this quirkiness, nerdiness and the all around likable personality helps to elevate this tape tenfold.
Ski Mask’s energy on this project helps to elevate his collaborators as well. Madeintyo and DirtyFaceSmook are able to help carry the vibe of the tape, but XXXtentacion’s part on ‘H20’ stands out the most. The previously established chemistry between the two shines through, which is especially potent in the fast and aggressive second verse.
Despite all these positives, the project is not without its flaws. The dull and essentially pointless interlude, ‘Gone’, sounds like he’s trying to emulate a sad Travis Scott and totally kills the pre-established vibe. He does this style a little more successfully on the track ‘Energy’, but in the end it still falls short to the rest of the tape. One positive I could find from this track, however, was Ski’s ability to manipulate his voice into what I can only describe as an MF Doom-esque supervillain.
At the end of this tape, I wanted more. Although it can seem gimmicky at times, the hilarious similes and all around fun energy surrounding it definitely make up for it. Seeing Ski Mask’s ability to maintain quality over a ten track project makes it even more clear to me that he is not the same as the rest of the mass of South Florida rappers screaming over distorted beats; he’s something special.