Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

Lil Skies ft. Landon Cube – Nowadays

Pennsylvania: Wiz Khalifa and Meek Mill with… Lil Skies in between?


Ryo Miyauchi: “Nowadays” gleams with the SoundCloud-bred mold of rap from its discussions on relationships to its twinkly synths shrouded in a vaporous cloud. Though there’s not much deeper than what’s on the surface with Lil Skies waving distrust as more #mood than a real issue. The kids will shout along to “nowadays I’m too cool for a girlfriend” no doubt, but the hook is only concerned with soothing temporary fits. For longer-lasting wounds, they’re gonna have to consult better rappers.

Micha Cavaseno: The softest and most fragile sounding SoundCloud pop-rap to the point it could easily be a comeback Travie McCoy single on helium. Lil Skies and Landon are competent enough, even perhaps excessively coherent in comparison to the acts whose footsteps they follow in, and there’s nothing ungainly in how polished their approach is. But at the same time, the sugary sweet-boyness of “Nowadays” utterly decimates any validity to their angsty postures of nihilism, instead becoming a sea of infantile grasps for pensiveness, an unironic version of James Hurley-style bad boy cliche.

Stephen Eisermann: Genuine introspection against a chill beat with a nice hook: this is emo rap at its best. Lil Skies has great flow and the lyrics manage to be both self-aggrandizing and a little sad, which complements the production choices well. Landon Cube also does an excellent job of providing the hook, though I’m not sure his verse works as well; still, solid job all around.

Ashley John: Like 75 per cent of the reason this song isn’t immediately forgettable is because of that hook, which tells me that Lil Skies knows the space he’s operating in and what he needs to do stay afloat there. The production is sleek and slippery, and Landon Cube’s high-pitched almost-whisper adds a bit of weirdness to balance it out. 

Iain Mew: It approaches working as a gently twinkling mood piece, but even if I could ignore the ugliness of the words I’d still get caught out by the bit at the back of the mix which sounds like someone dropping a block of wood in another room.

Julian Axelrod: The trend of SoundCloud emo rappers with face tattoos and near-identical names is already approaching saturation, but that hasn’t stopped Lil Skies from throwing his snapback in the ring. He’s mining a familiar sadsack vein, but it’s hard to tell what exactly sets him apart: His hooks are less sticky than Lil Pump’s, his cries less anguished than Lil Peep’s. Maybe it’s unfair to expect him to be as tortured as his peers, but his complaints about women wanting to date him and have unprotected sex aren’t particularly titillating or relatable. It’s especially frustrating to see him take top billing over Landon Cube, whose broken falsetto helps sell his lonely-drifter vibe. In another year and a different cultural climate, I could see him being a huge star. But unless he gets a face tat and changes his name to Lil Cube, we’re probably stuck with Skies — at least until the next trend comes along.

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