Lil Skies is back with his new album titled 'Unbothered'. Back in 2017/18 Lil Skies was one of the hottest emerging artists in the new hip hop scene, dropping constant bangers and even some great albums. Since then, he seems to be regressing as an artist. 'Shelby' was a mixed album and some of his singles weren't as engaging as say a 'Lust' or 'Nowadays'. Would this album be another step back in Skies' progression or a breath of fresh air in an inconsistent discography.
The production on this is fairly good, there’s some really strong instrumentals, such as on the track 'On Sight' which has this zany synth line behind this trap beat, as he talks about him just not being in the mood for much. At this point in the tracklist, there's been 4 good songs in a row and momentum is truly building, it’s not a complicated song and it’s slightly carried by the beat but the hook’s catchy and Skies’ performance is strong. There’s a few bland beats on here though, such as on 'Locked Up' as Skies reflects on the wealth he’s acquired and what he’s done with it with some nice lines but pretty average overall. Let alone is this 3 minute verse with no content or lyricism for the most part incredibly boring, he starts doing this deep voice vocal inflection which sounds horrible – no way this song should have made the album. The beats are all trap produced, and in the current landscape it doesn’t stand out but they’re nice beats half the time and easy to move your head to. There's possibly more of an R&B influence with the mood of these trap beats, as on 'Red Wine & Jodeci' where Skies talks on fake friends and this controlling girl. This song like the lyrics is just so bland and lifeless – no attraction or enjoyability out of it, just plain and boring.
Starting with the positives, at times Skies provides some slick and decent lines, as on 'Fade Away', "They say we are the ones who lead the generation // Sayin' if I die right now, at least I know I was dream chasin'", as he talks about his work ethic and all he’s put into rap over this very atmospheric and murky beat with this enticing trap pattern. It's a decent start, I can’t say it’s the most interesting song but there’s a nice melody to it and it’s probably some of Skies’ best lyricism on this thing. For the most part though he’s between mediocre and bad, with the mediocreness being shown on the single 'Ok', "Been ballin' on n****s like Kyrie // Big boss shit like John Gotti", as he talks about the usual of sex and flexing. The really lowkey, but deep trap beat it’s flames and while the mixing isn’t good it fits the aesthetic so it might even be a deliberate choice. There’s no lyrical skill here but his flow is fire as is that beat and a flawed track by definition, fire track by sound. He’s never been the best lyricist but he was usually more captivating than this. 'Trust Nobody' is another example of Skies being basic and uninteresting, "Take out the trash, you get disposed // Where is your bag? Why are you broke? // You're stealin' my swag, you gotta go // I gotta spaz, I'm in the zone", as he talks on where he’s come from and now he’s here he don’t trust anybody over this booming trap beat which is fine. The 3 track run we’re on has something in common – incredibly generic and boring, it doesn’t sound bad just not interesting in the slightest and I get 0 enjoyment from it. Skies' flow is pretty slick and inspired on here, at times it get’s really enjoyable (like on 'Ok'), but at times it's also just bog standard, as he raps in his typical auto tuned delivery which is fine.
Content wise the key topics focus around his come up and work ethic, as on 'Mhmmm' which has this really dramatic, racing bass over this pretty intriguing trap beat but yet again the lyricism is generic, "Yeah (Yeah), the car go vroom-vroom, it's fast, I'm doing the dash // I'm getting this money, I'm spending it fast, I'm praying it la". It's a decent ending, I can’t say Skies performance was too captivating but the beat carried, that being said you got to take what you got here. Fake friends, fake girls and just a feeling of disloyalty is common here too, as on 'Dead Broke' as Skies talks on this girl who wasn’t with him before the money as well as his depression. Lyrically again it's meh, and the lowkey guitar based trap beat is fine but doesn't stand out too much, but it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome and is catchy, as we're nice little 3 track run at the minute. The common trap topics of girls, drugs, guns and flexing are littered through this, like on 'Excite Me' as there isn't really a structure or focus, but he talks on girls, gangs and guns over this decent flute based trap beat. Wiz Khalifa features on this and had a nice, constant flow but just didn’t do much for me on the track as it's pretty mediocre, it's not horrible but like the first 2 nothing stands out but this doesn’t have that slight catchy edge to it to at least sound decent to me. Nothing too interesting content wise but he gets everything off his chest
Other tracks to look at include 'Take 5', which has this heavy bass and trap drums, with a lighter synth sheet as he talks on his come up and how he's now paid. My thoughts on this are the same as track 1- a nice vibe and melody but not too interesting, an alright song though. 'Havin My Way' lays this vibey guitar based trap beat as it focuses on guns, girls and gangs (the usual). Lil Durk continues his great feature run on this track, he just easily glides over the beats with smooth melodies as we also get a catchy hook. Skies is OK but Durk steals the show and we have our first notable track of the album. 'Think Deep Don't Sink' has these eerie bells and dark trap beat while we get no real focus, it's more a song to flex what he’s got with again, basic lyrics, "I speak 'cause I'm a man of my word // These n****s be actin' like nerds // These n****s, they shit, they turds". We get a nice cadence on the hook, no need for a third verse though it just drags the song out - and there's no forgiving this line, "I'm swervin' up in the car-y // She know I'm not retardy".
'Riot' has this banging flute based beat as he talks on his money and girls he gets. There’s more energy to this, and the flow is more in your face and that’s when Skies it at his best, it has a great hook to follow as well, it isn’t one of Skies’ best songs but a highlight on here and a good song at least. Finally we come to 'Sky High', where the the 808s are booming but the rest of the instrumental isn’t too engaging as again the song is about this girls love being “sky high” and hard to find with some sickly love song lyrics. There's some really nullifying melodies and singing for the most part, verse 2 we see Skies’ rap with some venom but even then it’s not nearly good enough to save the track.
To say it bluntly, it’s an inconsistent album – it starts really well with some attractive melodies and flows, but as it goes on it gets quite bland and generic. The production, features, Skies performance himself aren’t bad but don’t stand out and that sums up the project. His old albums weren’t the most innovative, but they managed to stay fresh and engaging all the way through and he’s struggling to do that now. It could have more than 2 features to keep things fresh as well and I’m a bit disappointed but not surprised, as I said it’s not bad but I know he has a lot of potential that he isn’t unleashing. It wasn’t even a bad start it just took a complete nose dive in the second half with everything becoming more tedious.
FAVOURITE TRACKS: Havin My Way, Ok, Dead Broke, On Sight, Riot
LEAST FAVOURITE TRACK: Locked Up
OVERALL RATING: Solid 5/10