• Marty Gross

The Underground Spotlight: Lil Darkie

Monthly Listeners: 168,696 (February 2020)

Associated Acts:  BVDLVD, Wendigo, Cubensis

My Favorite Project: THIS DOES NOT EXIST

My Favorite Tracks: BLACK SHEEP, COMPOSITION XI, THERAPY, I AM ADDICTED TO DRUGS AND TIRED OF IT, YEAR OF THE CAP, and HOLOCAUST.

Timeline: 2016-Present


(Quick Disclaimer: All pictures shown in this article are created by Lil Darkie Himself)


Wow. It has been about four months since I have done one of these and I am greatly sorry for the delay. I really wanted to make sure I found a worthy underground artist to choose and he is worth the wait. This guy is absolutely nuts and I think my readers are going to be very polarized while listening to him. Please let me know how you like Darkie and, as always, if you know of someone who deserves the spotlight, send in recommendations for the next underground artist who deserves the spotlight.


Anyways, let’s move on to artist number 7!



Who?

On today’s spotlight, I have chosen the edgy, but ardent, rapper Lil Darkie. Lil Darkie is an intense rapper who was orginally from Nothern California but is currently residing in LA. Darkie started making music when he was 16 years old that had a heavy Odd Future influence under the name “Brahmen”. Later, he evolved into the crazy and erratic “Darkie” persona and has been riding with that for the past two years. He has said that he adopted the name from when bullies at his high school school would call him "Darkie". His first ever album SWAMP DRAINED debuted April 20th, 2019 (no significance in that date) and his more polished sophomore album THIS DOES NOT EXIST cracked 2020 wide open. Also, in September of 2019, he had his first show in Charlotte, North Carolina and as of recently, he has done shows in New York and LA.  Lil Darkie is known for his association with “Spider Gang” (a wild group of producers and rappers from all parts of California), his abrasive diction and his wildy cartoonish theme that has drawn a cult following.



Why?

I discovered Lil Darkie about six months ago when my wonderfully intuitive friend Teddy sent me a link to his song “HOLOCAUST” and with it, the message “Let me know how you feel about this”. As you all probably know, I love song recommendations. So I threw on the buds and gave it a listen. At first, I was repulsed. I thought the bass was terribly mixed. I thought Darkie’s lyrics were borderline racist. And I thought the song dragged on way too long. With that, I decided that his discography was not even worth listening to. I kind of laughed it off and then moved on with my life. Two weeks later while Teddy and I were in the car, he threw the song on. I protested him to turn it off at first. He refused and I was forced to give it a second listen. A more thoughtful listen. I really trusted Teddy’s music taste, so I knew there was something in him. It was then that I truly had an epiphany. I pondered to myself, and the first thing I thought was “wow, this motherfucker is hard”. I realized how ignorant I was. I knew I had to explore through his discography. I listened to his fist and only album at the time, SWAMP DRAINED, and enjoyed it. He uses a set of insane 808s and a variety of barbaric bass boosts. Although some may see them as unorganized or out of tune, I find them beautifully strategic. Every instrumental is layered in a way to add to the delusions in his song.  Lyrically, the messages are blurred and choatic so Darkie correlates and blends the two ideas perfectly. Very few artists can match these two concepts together and still make a cohesive track like Darkie. He has conquered this idea that many artists dream of achieving. And he’s only 20.



Although Darkie has a distinct cartoonish style, what really makes Darkie profound is his versatility. His versatility is thrilling. Darkie can fluctuate his voice in extreme ways, from making his voice sound squeaky and almost feminine to make his voice sound like demonic parasite that will eradicate anything in it calamitous path. He can make a beautifully pensive, emo rock song like “THERAPY” or “BLACK SHEEP”. He can make a guitar-influenced, horrorcore trap song like “YEAR OF THE CAP”. Hell, he can even make a bass-boosted country song like “JACK DANIELS”.  Darkie’s intelligence and expertise in combining different genres together is astonishing and I have yet to see many other rappers with that ability.


This versatility can range from his change in emotions to change in instrumentals. The instruments he uses are vastly different and distinct but he is still able to make a cohesive string of tracks in every project. It may seem that some of his singles have absolutely no correlation, but to devout listeners, it is clear that you can tell that he has a plan for every project and puts time and effort into crafting every song for his albums.


Lil Darkie’s versatility doesn’t just range in music, but art. He is an incredible animator and a fantastic designer. Every single album or single, Darkie constructs the cover art. He is known for having a sinister, demonic looking character that looks like what a five-year-old draws of the demon in every horror movie. He uses this maniacal character on almost every track (that is not to discredit his art, by any means, because it looks dope as shit, but that’s what I envision everytime I see it). He said on the “Kult Classic” podcast that he got the inspiration to draw these animations when he was tripping on acid and saw his face in the mirror. Sounds pleasant! These animations are the perfect representation of his music and give you a sweet visual cue for every track.



Darkie is a crazy musical mastermind to say the least. He is creative, insanely great at blending music genres, and has the potential to honestly be one of the most versatile emo rappers in the history of rap. All I am saying is that he needs a chance. While writing this, I was having trouble trying to decide what the best appeals are; there are simply too many great things to say about him. As Darkie evolves over time, I can only see success. I really think you guys will like him and if you like rappers like Nascar ALOE or some Afourteen, you will enjoy Darkie.


Well, that’s all I got. Peace!


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