$uicideboy$ brought spectacle and a sense of life’s struggles to the Uptown last night

Friday night’s sold out show at the Uptown Theater made it abundantly clear: For better or worse, a young generation of middle- and working-class Americans loves $uicideboy$. Droves of mallrat teens and disaffected young adults filled the space, privy to the fact that this New Orleans hip-hop duo’s cocktail of violently occult raps, acrobatic Memphis flows, and blown-out trap production is the perfect soundtrack for blowing off steam.

Ruby Da Cherry and $lick $loth stomped, hopped and kicked their way across the stage in sync with a number of their most aggressive songs, using throaty shouts to incite mosh pits and even a wall of death — likely a first for many teenagers attending. The stage show was itself a spectacle, but those who sang along with the rappers had special insight into why the music works for so many: lyrical content that covers depression and anxiety, drug use, and their rags-to-riches tales, all delivered using outlandish and demonic imagery (perhaps inspired by their city’s haunted past).

The drug use was a subject that came up again when the pair spoke to the crowd near the end of the performance. $loth noted that he was, four years ago — and still is — a junkie, and that Ruby also deals with depression.The two appealed to the crowd, saying they may have died without their fans — and that people with “fucked-up jobs” and “fucked-up families” aren’t ever alone in the world.

Many fans may scoff at the comparison, but the group’s use of murderous lyricism and its loyalty to its fanbase mirror the most admirable elements of performers like Insane Clown Posse or Kansas City’s own Tech N9ne. The music of $uicideboy$ may sound derivative to some, and it may not be P.C. enough for others, but it can whip a crowd as little else in its scene can. And the men seem to have their hearts in the right place.

$uicideboy$ brought no opening acts, but the group’s DJ Crystal Meth spun a half-hour set of throwback jams, SoundCloud-charting bangers, and a four-song tribute to late emo-rapper Lil Peep, who died at age 21 last month of an accidental overdose.

Categories: Music