Last Wednesday, as reactions to this year’s Grammy nominations permeated the timeline, Richmond, Virginia rapper $ilkmoney declared his indifference toward assimilation with the colorfully titled “I Ate 14gs of Mushrooms and Bwoy Oh Bwoy.” The song is just under two minutes long, but with producer Kahlil Blu’s flaring synths and colossal kicks, it packs more punch than most
“It’s just me and my niggas versus the algorithms,” he spits before coming to a calculated halt punctuating with: “I know they out to get us!” The chorus is an incisive protest against streaming platforms that set the rules of engagement at the expense of musicians. $ilkmoney lets them know he’s onto their games and won’t be playing them. He delves into meta rhymes about crafting the song and hits the listener with a couplet that rolls absurdist imagery and social commentary into one rewind-worthy punchline. “Fuck Johnny Dang, Just hung a brick of DMT from my keychain / I hope a nigga snatch it so he can unlock the teachings.”
The average rapper wouldn’t broach getting a chain snatched, but $ilkmoney not only jokes about being the victim of a robbery, he convincingly finds intellectual high ground. The tornado of a verse has the gravitas of an employee hurling long-withheld gripes before quitting their job, with $ilkmoney rapping with frantic verve over the raucous beat.
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$ilkmoney’s sound eludes a neat label or categorization. It’s surreal, but it’s not shock rap, he’s funny, but not in place of skill, and he throws shots at peers, but not in an anachronistic fashion. Many rappers with $ilkmoney’s technical ability ultimately waste their talent on excessive boasts about how good they are or what their peers aren’t doing. $ilkmoney gets his commentary off but cleverly drops the fourth wall to parody rappers fixated on their sexual own conquests. “This still some things I wanna say, but I just can’t articulate / Probably should say a bar about fucking bitches with insta fame.”
The rapper, who prefers to keep personal information to himself, has put conformity in the garbage disposal throughout his career, especially after leaving the Richmond-based Divine Council and embarking on a solo career. According to him, rapping isn’t even necessarily a priority, and he’s uninterested in taking the conventional route to rap notoriety, preferring to stay a private figure.
On his recent album, I Don’t Give A Fuck About This Rap Shit, Imma Just Drop Until I Don’t Feel Like It Anymore, $ilkmoney laments that he’s bored of rapping. His exhaustion gave us one of the most thrilling listens of the year.