Lil Skies finally gets his chance to prove to the world that he’s one of the hottest young rappers in the game with “Shelby.”
HONORABLE MENTION. BAD GIRLS “Bad Girls” is a rebellious banger that has its moments of passion and grittiness attached to it. The combination results in a legitimate club hit. I think the biggest strengths of “Bad Girls” are its fantastic hook, the solid balance between tough ass bars and gentle vibes you get from Skies and Gucci Mane, and its hood storybook subject-matter. Throughout listening to the track, I felt hyped, numb and bothered. So you mean to tell me a dude with multiple tattoos on his face is allowed to be picky when it comes to finding a girl? Get the f**k out of here!
5. BLUE STRIPS
In “Blue Strips,” you get the most reckless version of Skies. On it, he talks about breaking chick’s necks, getting checks and partying ’til the sun comes up. Personally, I love how the song flows, especially when it comes to his rap deliveries and the tempo attached to the beat.
If I were to guess, “Blue Strips” will end up this album’s club hit.
4. STOP THE MADNESS
“Stop The Madness” features this rock/trap-inspired instrumental that screams out destroy me. On it, Skies brings out his savage side, provoking enemies, leaving women jilted and celebrating his success recklessly. Personally, I love this sound for him, because it allows him to kick that f**kin’ box he’s usually placed in by fair-weather rap fans like myself.
Gunna is featured on “Stop the Madness,” and believe it or not, he drops a verse that is semi-understandable. Matter of fact, I’ve never heard him sound as amped up as he did here. Is it premature to say that he put up his best verse on this song?
I just heaved my tennis ball at my dog while I was listening to this song. For some reason, this joint brings out rage in me.
F**k the melodies, flows and hard-hitting beat that powers this song for a moment. Instead, pay attention to the deep ass lyrical content that Skies gives us on his verses and the hook. Not only does he talk about his lack of trust in the people around him, but he also opens up about seeking loyalty and finding a happy place in his life. More than anything, I think these subject-matters are what makes him one of the realest rappers in the game. Now add the infectious melodies and steady flows I told you to forget about into the fray, and what you get is a meaningful track that has replay potential written all over it. If it wasn’t for Landon Cube’s lame ass verse on the song, I would’ve given it 1st place.
2. OK 4 NOW
“OK For Now” is a flawless track. It features a fantastic hook, an infectious melody, tough ass rap bars, lots of daring harmonizing, and meaningful lyrical content centered around loneliness and heartbreak. In my opinion, it’s the perfect sappy commercial record that allows Skies to showcase each and every one of his talents as a musician.
“OK For Now” is Skies version of “Best I Ever Had.”
1. THROUGH THE MOTIONS
“Through The Motions” is yet another flawless track. It features an excellent hook and melody, vulnerable lyrics, and the right amount of creativity attached to it. It’s also tough, featuring verses by Skies that are hard-hitting, unapologetic and dark. In other words, you get to hear everything Skies does great on this particular song (Similar to “OK 4 Now”).
SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN
1. I (3.5/5)
2. BAD GIRLS (3.5/5)
3. BREATHE (3.5/5)
4. NOWADAYS, PT. 2 (4/5)
5. FLOODED (4.5/5)
6. BLUE STRIPS (4/5)
7. STOP THE MADNESS (4/5)
8. OK FOR NOW (5/5)
9. WHEN I’M WASTED (4/5)
10. MANSION (4/5)
11. THROUGH THE MOTIONS (5/5)
12. HIGHS & LOWS (4/5)
13. NAME IN THE SAND (3.5/5)
14. NO RAINY DAYS (4/5)
WHAT DID I LOVE ABOUT “SHELBY”
- Lil Skies’ ability to create memorable hooks and melodies is on point. He knows how to start them, he knows how to finish them, and he knows how to make them stand out like a sore thumb. It’s easily his greatest strength.
- Skies’ second greatest strength is his ability to open up in a myriad of ways. On this album, he comes across as vulnerable, troubled and paranoid, which strangely enough, he sounds comfortable being.
- Skies’ third greatest strength is his rapping ability. When he needs to, he is more than capable of giving us some serious bars, with everything from his flows to his lyrical content sticking out like an NBA player at an opera show. I also think he’s a very clear rapper, which is saying a lot in this mumble rap era we live in.
- A lot of the young cats in the game say they are confident, but on the real, I think they are confident in their characters and not their rapping abilities. However, Skies sounds confident in his rapping abilities when he spits, especially when his content requires him to stick his chest out a bit.
- I love the power struggle between Skies’ braggadocios and introspective sides on this album. They each get equal time to shine, and are both met with the same urgency by him.
- On some real s**t, Skies gives us a perfect glimpse inside the mind of a booming rapper on this album, even though he hasn’t been in the game all that long. I can honestly say my ambitions to be the next Pac went out the window listening to this project.
- How about Gunna’s verse on this song!? He actually put something up that was full of effort. I can argue with you that this was his best showing on a feature.
- Skies excels when he’s on his rock star s**t.
- At times, Skies sounds like a more polished version of Lil Xan (Especially on “i”). I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing… I say good!
WHAT DID I HATE ABOUT “SHELBY”
- There was not enough undeniable rap cuts on the album. Skies focused a lot of his attention on melodic efforts, never really reaching his full potential rapping-wise. Trust me, I’ve heard him lay down some truly impressive verses in the past.
- Gucci Mane and Landon Cube’s verses on this album were horrible. How can I download a version of “Shelby” without them?
- At a certain point, the beats on this album started to sound the same (Mainly when it came to tempo and vibes). I didn’t have a major problem with this, but that nit-picking side of me did find that concerning.
- There are a few moments on this album in which Skies does dumb down his sound. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but someone who isn’t a fan of the melodic rap music you hear today can penalize him for that.
- I’m not sure how long the music on this album will remain relevant. What I heard from Skies on “Shelby” was a better version of what everyone else in the game is doing. But in the end of the day, it still falls in the category of what everyone else is doing. What everyone else is doing will get old very soon to people.
Lil Skies has super star written all over him. I find everything about his artistry appealing. Now that he has his first major project under his belt, I am curious to see what kind of progression he makes from here on out.