Given his feature verses as of late have been as brilliant as they are sparse, I admit my interest in this record was piqued by the featured André Benjamin (better known as André 3000 of Outkast). Recent murmurs of a new Outkast album coupled with the aforementioned rarity of his musical output have rendered any André guest verse the hottest clickbait in hip-hop. But where most clickbait leaves you scrambling desperately to escape the browser tab, the song Decemba (Remix) had me engaged for its full 3 minute and 49 second duration.
While this engagement was in large part due to 3 Stacks, credit must also go to the song’s principal artist, 19-year-old Virginia-native, $ilkmoney.
$ilk helps comprise the up-and-coming Divine Council, a rap collective hailing from Richmond, VA. Along with his counterparts, Cyrax!, Lord Linco and ICYTWAT , Divine Council continues Virginia’s rich history of musical groups, which have been headlined most recognisably throughout the 2000’s by Clipse, The Neptunes and N.E.R.D.
Divine Council’s journey from underground stars on Soundcloud to Epic Records-signees has largely flown under the radar. Their discography to this point is mostly composed of solo tracks from each of the members, with August’s 5-song EP -Council World- marking the group’s maiden major label project.
Featured on this EP was $ilk’s track P. Sherman (PS42WW$), which had earlier topped the Spotify Viral 50 Chart in May. The title, an homage to Disney Pixar’s 2003 film, Finding Nemo, demonstrates $ilk’s jovial sense of humour. This may also be indicative of a deep appreciation for Disney which is a trait not often exhibited by the rappers, many of whom are unfortunately more interested in actavis than Aladdin. The hook to Decemba itself continues this trend, featuring a line in which $ilk declares he’ll /hold a b****h up, like Simba/ from Disney’s 1996 classic, Lion King. References to children’s films aside, as catchy as tracks like Decemba and P. Sherman are, they do make me call into the question the artistic maturity of $ilkmoney.
Throughout the song, $ilk puts forward a verse littered with crass lines, and a repetitive albeit equally unsavoury hook. As disappointing as it is, casual sexism and distasteful lyrics are endemic in hip-hop… but that’s an article for another time. Instead, the artistic immaturity I’m referring to comes with the almost nauseous repetition of the track’s chorus. Although, repetition itself is a common song-writing tool in all genres, and lends tracks (including the one in question) a certain addictive quality, on Decemba (Remix) I couldn’t help but find it a tad pervasive.
That being said, the glossy and up-tempo production by ICYTWAT is very enjoyable. The beat’s crisp and bouncy drums are well navigated by $ilk on his first verse, however it is André 3000, with his trademark unorthodox flows and fun storytelling who truly makes the most of the instrumental.
Overall, the song serves as a solid introduction to $ilkmoney and the Divine Council collective, who thanks to this 3 Stacks co-sign have catapulted to the forefront of consciousness regarding young rappers on the come-up.
Title: Decemba (Remix)
Artist: $ilkmoney of Divine Council featuring André Benjamin of Outkast
Label: Epic Records