I Don’t Want to Die in New Orleans: The Hard Times and Harder Work of $uicideboy$
There’s a thread that seems to run throughout nearly every genre of music—a desire to escape your hometown that runs as deep as the pride for the land that’s served as the flint of the artistic fire. As a breathing, scene-spanning beast, punk-influenced hip-hop duo $uicideboy$ is perhaps the most relevant living example of this seemingly-contradictory sentiment. In a time where rap skills have become synonymous with clout goggles and laptop mics, cousins Scott “$crim” Arceneaux Jr. and Aristos “Ruby da Cherry” Pertrou have risen above the silliness by becoming one of the most influential voices of the melancholic rap community. Earning respect within the greater punk, goth, and hip-hop scenes, the boy$ retain a DIY-caliber work ethic while asserting wise-beyond-their-years substance, inside the studio and out.
Currently sitting at the fourth most-viewed No Jumper interview, $uicideboy$’ candidness towards the long journey of finding and cultivating their point of view has become the battle cry of everyone who has faced the torturous day job/artistic sphere dichotomy. Even when the integrity of probes is limited to inquiries into heroin highs and the supposed setbacks of being white kids in New Orleans, their genuine immersion in their craft shines through their accounts of adversary. Expressing that no consideration was given to the Suicide Girls brand when developing their name, the cousins keep a family tradition of staying unhinged from strict subcultures. Having cycled through suburbs-sanitized punk bands and increasingly uninspired DJ sets, Ruby and $crim had a hunger to transcend the streets of New Orleans’ 7th Ward as well as the cornier boundaries of niche alt cliques.
Inevitably, the dichotomy tilts in a fixed direction. For some, this final fall means indulging post-9-to-5 mental fatigue with the lull of a television set instead of rhythm and drums. For $crim, increasingly visible tattoos meant getting laid off from his job selling used furniture, freeing up time to dedicate to music. Selling pills until the extra money for basic equipment was produced, he got to work with Ruby, rubbing antennas until they created the headspace that translated gracefully into the generation of mass-disillusionment descending upon Soundcloud.
As $uicideboy$ have gained substantial ground, their ability to tour all over the map is indebted to their open-mindedness towards influences near and far. Starting off with a love of New Orleans legends from 5th Ward Weebie to Lil Wayne, Ruby and $crim have also cited Southern rap icons Three 6 Mafia for their flavor, and of course, in terms of their delivery, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Meanwhile, local crust and vast vaporwave scenes play their hand at both sound and aesthetics. These countless factors have, in turn, produced countless mixtapes and EPs. Anticipation of first full-length I Don’t Want to Die in New Orleans thrives as $uicideboy$ tease their move-making without an official release date.
The unpredictability seems fitting as the cousins have countlessly described the volatility of living in a place that takes as easily as it gives. A new curve ball at the border of every neighborhood, heroin serves as the sticky tar of the city’s “tough” streets while the “good ones” retain the oppressive rigidity of the old American South. The result? A low-grade anxiety that bleeds through $uicideboy$ spooky beats, resonating with kids across the internet, who, despite having never been to New Orleans, have become all too familiar with the big unease.