A slower slice of troubling hip-hop, following the paranoid claustrophobia of “100”. NYC’s new rap heroes mix it up with London’s King Krule.
The video for “So Sick Stories” puts Ratking and their British guest in a set of nondescript, alienating, brutalistic urban locales. Their cross to bear is one of sadness, anger, listlessness, lived out amongst the “gritty and gross”. The only ways out are either “puffing that bliss or cuffs on my wrist”. There’s a flailing disregard for everyone else – either born out of self-loathing generated by an inability to make a break, or as a symptom of the desperate rage of knowing that they’re stuck with these “hideous shmoe[s]” and “innocent shmucks” for eternity because there isn’t any way out. Krule sings the chorus, plays the Chorus, asking us “now do you see this ? the way the grey controls ?”, giving us the full reality of this hellish limbo “in between the concrete and the mist”. Something about the atmosphere of this track reminded me of MC Solaar’s “Armand est mort”. While there’s something there in the undercurrent of synth wash and lines, and the melancholy notes struck by occasional keyboards, there’s no reassuringly recognisable Marvin Gaye sample, and the jittery drums of “So Sick Stories” evoke the shivers and shakes of withdrawal, of being out in the cold with too-few-clothes. “Scars won’t shut, no, scars won’t shut !” they tell you.
“So Sick Stories” is from Ratking’s debut album “So It Goes”, out on 8 April on HXC recordings (distribution by XL). You can catch them live in the UK at Electrowerkz on 7 May. Don’t have nightmares.