‘An insight into the career of the legendary Black Kray, delving into the past, detailing his rise, Embracing the present and forecasting the future. Showing you why Black Kray is one of the game’s most influential.’
Black Kray, now known as Sickboyrari is a rare breed in this current era of underground music. A true OG of the scene, Kray rose to prominence in 2013 with his breakthrough project Ice Cream and Mac 10s. Before the foundation of the underground juggernaut Goth Money Records, Kray was very much the same person, with the same vision of portraying the shine and embracing the struggle. From being an original member of Raider Klan in 2011 to forming Terrorist Posse in 2012 and finally taking over with Goth Money Records in 2013, Kray’s presence in the underground has been felt since its inception. But one thing that has been severely understated throughout Kray’s career is his influence. Since the rise of the Goth Money, Kray and his fellow labelmates have been one of the few post- Raider Klan movements focused on unifying and empowering people through their art and lifestyle. Black Kray’s hypnotising ‘chant-like’ flow, extremely unique slang, original artistic direction and being a true embodiment of his aesthetic not only separated him from the underground scene it also birthed a whole new era of artists. These new artists were inspired by Kray’s uniqueness and originality, traits which seem lost in today’s ‘game’.
By staying true to himself and his vision Black Kray, along with Goth Money Records, have united and inspired people worldwide. Through his art Black Kray showed us the light, showed us how to ‘shyne’, the time to pay homage is now.
In this era where disrespect is at an all-time high, Kray remains humble and sticks to himself. He stays true. He is one of the few putting on for real artistry. It is only right that we give him full credit for his greatness in the inaugural edition of LO-FI The Magazine.
This is LO-FI the Magazine and our first feature story is about the career, influence and legacy of the modern day No Limit Soldier, The ‘Goth Money Soulja’ Black Kray, now known as Sickboyrari.
2011/2012: BEFORE THE ‘SHYNE’, THE BLACK KREAYSHAWN
During the formative years of Black Kray’s career it was clear to see Kray’s unique approach. His YouTube channel provides a glimpse into his world. Amongst the myriad of skate clips, short films, song uploads and music videos you begin to realise that Kray has always stayed true to himself. His progression into the artist he is today has been completely natural. Kray was destined to ‘shyne’.
The beginning of Black Kray’s internet presence can be traced back to his various skate clips, Lil B and Kreayshawn song uploads in 2009/2010. His upload of Kreayshawn’s song “I Just Wanna Be Your Friend” has amassed over 1 million views. Although he was cementing himself in the world of YouTube, it wasn’t until 2011 and 2012 where Black Kray started to lay the foundation for his game-changing vision and approach.
In 2011 Kray was an original Raider Klan representer. His time with Klan was very short-lived, however the relationships he built during this time were invaluable to helping his career in the future. His extremely short tenure in the Klan helped him form relationships with future underground heavy hitters: Key Nyata, Xavier Wulf and Chris Travis. Most importantly he established a connection with the polarising legend SpaceGhostPurrp. Kray left the klan well before it enjoyed its dominant 2012-13 run, instead he separated himself to focus on building himself and his brand. This was, at the time, known as the Terrorist Posse.
Terrorist Posse was a movement founded by Black Kray based out of Richmond, Virginia. Other notable members of the Terrorist Posse include Hunned Mill (then known as HVNNXD STVCKZ) and Karmah. It was during the Terrorist Posse era where Kray showed his true potential and released some of the most experimental music in the post-based underground scene. It’s extremely hard to place a ‘genre’ on his 2012 music. Think witch house meets Cash Money/ No-Limit bounce. The fusion of styles and aesthetic was furthermore elevated by Black Kray’s hypnotic flow and unique slang. Kray’s early music is the epitome of ‘post-based’: raw, rough around the edges but filled with the beauty of groundbreaking sounds, nostalgia and unfiltered self-expression.
Throughout 2012 Black Kray enjoyed many breakthrough moments. Most notably, the 80 Dimebagz Remix which featured Chris Travis and Xavier Wulf (known at the time as Ethelwulf). This remix was featured on Chris Travis’ ‘Codeine and Pizza’ mixtape, a tape which is now considered a classic in today’s scene. He also directed and edited the visual for Wulf’s and Travis’ single ‘BLVCK SMOKE’ (Black Smoke). Other notable features during 2011/2012 include songs with Key Nyata (‘SpaceTrill’ off ‘C.O.T.S Vol. 1’), Chris Travis (‘Wavy Like Africa’ off ‘Twerkn 10 Cellphones’ & ‘Prophet’ off ‘Hell on Earth’).
One of Kray’s most prominent collaborators in 2011/2012 would spawn the beginnings of a relationship which has blossomed into success for both involved. This collaborator was none other than the originator of trilwave, MFK Marcy Mane. Together, along with D.C.’s M.I.L.F. (Men In Line Formation), Luckaleannn and Hunned Mill put together the ‘Black Art Goon’ tapes. These tapes illustrated the potential that Kray and Marcy had together. ‘Black Art Goons’ is based braggadacio at its finest. The track ‘Slap A Bitch With A Stack’ fully exhibits this ‘based braggadacio’ as MFK and Kray use a lackadaisacal flow to drop quotables over a galactic Zaemazaru beat. In retrospect, the ‘Black Art Goons’ collection can be seen as a landmark project for all involved. That project is where the origins of the Goth Money swag were born. It was coming of age for Kray and all those involved. Although still very early in his artistic journey, he and his collaborators had established their own sound, style and aesthetic. Step by step Terrorist Posse, and those involved in the Black Art Goons project had carved their own lane in the underground. The next step was to bring that lane to prominence. That would be achieved during the Goth Money era.
Throughout 2011/2012 Black Kray laid the foundation for his career. The 4 solo projects he released: Twerkn 10 Cellphones, Tr4p4rt, Crack Cloud$ Over Arts Kitchen and Cocaine and Ice Cream 2048 shows Kray at his rawest: unfiltered, unique, and full of potential. On his collaborations he stood out and he created relationships that still benefit him to this very day. During a time where everyone was caught in the Raider Klan hype, Kray dared to do something different. He wasn’t afraid to experiment, to bring something new to those who were willing to listen. He stayed true to his original friends, his original vision and he had refined his craft to the point where he was the total package: a recording artist, video editor, director, producer, and graphic designer. The true embodiment of what an underground artist should be.
By the end of 2012 Kray had established himself. He had built solid connections, was a part of songs which are now underground folklore and he had refined his unique style. Kray before the ‘shyne’ had done everything possible to earn the ‘shyne’. The underground fanbase just had to catch up. From the beginning it was clear Kray was different. Name another rapper talking about Gucci Unicorns in 2012? You can’t. Entering 2013 Kray was a few moves away from becoming the next underground sensation. Fortunately he was playing chess not checkers.
2013/2014: “THE BIRTH OF GOTH MONEY, BLACK KRAY BREAKS THROUGH”
The underground landscape in 2013/2014 had changed drastically in comparison to 2012. Several key members left the once prominent Raider Klan to form their own upstart movements. Yung Lean had emerged and brought the internet aesthetic to the masses. Although the scene was still pushing boundaries musically it seemed the scene was more focused on separation than bringing people together. By founding Goth Money along with MFK, Kane Grocerys, Luckaleannn, Hunned Mill and Karmah, Kray brought the ‘light’ to the underground. Goth Money was a force which united its listeners through aesthetic, slang and its message (at the time) of ‘positive thuggin’. Arguably Kray’s most influential period, he showed us the ‘struggle’ and the ‘shyne’. Whilst giving us styles, slang, flows and sounds which have forever changed the game.
2013/2014 were groundbreaking years for Kray in terms of success and artistic progression. It all started with the founding of Goth Money Records. The label original roster consisted of: Black Kray, Marcy Mane, Kane Grocerys, Luckaleannn, Karmah amd Hunned Mill (Marcy Mane has since left). It was during the 2013/14 period where the label carved their own commanding lane in the underground scene. The upstart crew came together through a mutual connection to Kray. Some artists were prior collaborators (Kane, MFK and Luckaleannn) and others have been with Kray since day one (Karmah and Hunned Mill), Black Kray was the lynchpin that brought Goth Money together. Each artist, individually, had enjoyed some success in the underground scene. But together these 6 artists would become an influential and uniting force in an environment which was in dire need of both things.
By the start of 2013 Kray had established solid relationships with underground stalwarts and underground upstarts. Following a move to LA, Kray was looking to utilise his immense talent and use his budding relationships to manifest his own movement. With the foundation in place for success, Kray founded Goth Money Records. The roster was the perfect blend of his internet presence (MFK, Luckaleannn & Kane Grocerys) and his day one ‘A-town’ park representers (Karmah & Hunned Mill).
With the formation of Goth Money Records, Kray had established a platform to allow his artistry to reach never before seen heights. He achieved this throughout 2013 and 2014. His breakthrough into the underground scene, his crowning moment ‘per se’, was with the release of the ‘Depressed Oceans’ visual. The video was a crash course in the world of Black Kray and Goth Money. A 3:35 look into the world of the ‘soljuh’ from Richmond. It illustrated the ‘raw’ D.I.Y. nature of Kray and his crew. From the thrift store fits laden with metal tees, silk scarfs, basketball jerseys, gold teeth, piercings and the iconic ‘Goth Money’ forces, to the unique environments which Marcy Mane would refer to as ‘Flexico’. Kray was able to create, with the help of those who were involved, a whole new aesthetic purely through his unique visual presentation. Couple this with the actual song, a Dirty Vans and Purp Dogg produced slapper, which prominently features Kray’s hypnotic ‘chant-like’ flow. The combination of the unique flow and visual presentation drew listeners into the Goth Money world. Hunned Mill closes out the track with a solid guest verse and shows us that Black Kray is not an exclusive entity but instead an inclusive entity. As a standalone piece of work, ‘Depressed Oceans’ is like a journey into an alternate universe where the Hot Boys and No Limit Soldiers still reign supreme. Where flossin’ is a priority but in contrast embracing your struggles is paramount as well. The track and the ‘raw’ visual present you with a barrage of never-ending aesthetic. An aesthetic which embraces being different and an aesthetic which shows Black Kray in his rawest form. ‘Depressed Oceans’ may not go down in history as one of Black Kray’s best songs, but it will go down as the moment Kray truly arrived on the underground scene. It was the first time he brought people into his world, into his struggle and the first time he showed us the art of ‘shyne’.
By July 2013 Black Kray had entered the wider underground scene. Through a tireless work ethic Kray and his fellow Goth Money members were putting themselves on the map. Slowly but surely they would all spend the rest of 2013 building upon the success that ‘Depressed Oceans’ created. Next up for Black Kray was to release his first project under the Goth Money Records label: ‘Ice Cream and Mac 10s’. This project solidified Black Kray as a budding star in the underground. ‘Ice Cream and Mac 10s’ proved ‘Depressed Oceans’ wasn’t just a flash in the pan. It was the beginning of a new era in the underground. The dawn of ‘positive thuggin’ was upon us. In short, ‘Ice Cream and Mac 10s’ is your quintessential Black Kray tape: unheard flows, genre-bending production, and a lyrical message that must be decoded through slang. This message is one that Kray has been portraying throughout his whole career; embodying the struggle and sadness whilst trying to proliferate the shyne and positivity. ‘Ice Cream and Mac 10s’ was for many listeners their first Black Kray tape. If ‘Depressed Oceans’ was an insight into the world of the Richmond ‘soljuh’ then ‘Ice Cream and Mac 10s’ left listeners immersed in the world of Black Kray. Where twerking phones is the regular agenda, robbing hoes is for the sake of positivity and ‘Goth Luv’ is what we all desire. On the surface that’s what it seems. But with each listen you realise Kray’s world is about self-expression, the heavy based slang is just his chosen vehicle to deliver that message. Through his style, music and aesthetic Black Kray and his Goth Money label-mates provided fans with a uniting, organic influence.
‘Ice Cream and Mac 10s’ merely seems like another internet era swag-rap mixtape. Lacking in substance but fuelled by an outlandish aesthetic. However when you take a deeper look it will go down as one of the undergrounds most influential tapes. It is the tape where the Goth Money swag was established and brought to the forefront. It was the tape where many of us were first exposed to the world of Black Kray. It is safe to say that listeners were left immersed in his alternate universe of ‘positive thuggin’.
Ice Cream and Mac 10s features classic cuts such as: ‘Depressed Oceans’, ‘Don Cheadle’ (feat. Luckaleannn), ‘Iced Out Castles’ (Produced by DJ Smokey), ‘Uzi Edwards’ and ‘Ending Prayer (Goth Luv)’, Ice Cream and Mac 10s is as good as any underground project gets. It is nearly flawless from beginning to end.
After the release of Ice Cream and Mac 10s many coined Kray as ‘Chief Keef meets Lil B’. That comparison goes deeper than the surface. Just as Keef birthed the Chicago ‘Drill’ scene, Kray was about to birth a new era of artists influenced by his ‘shyne’.
2013 didn’t just start and finish with ‘Ice Cream and Mac 10s’. Instead Kray focused on building on top of his momentum. Other projects released during 2013 include: ‘Depressedd Boyzzz- Zoloft 4030mg’, a three track EP with ex-Goth Money member Marcy Mane, and a re-release of his 2012 EP with Jayyeah ‘Back To The Witchhouse’. Aside from projects, Kray was featured on several songs and released several ‘loose end’ tracks. Notable features include: ‘Tamagochi‘ and ‘Pink Jewelz‘ with Xavier Wulf, ‘Trench Coat Mafia’ with Bones and ‘Diamonds‘ with Bladee and Thaiboy Digital. Notable 2013 singles from Kray include: ‘Shorty I Luv U, But…’ (Produced by Eric Dingus), ’40K Ocean (Produced by Yung Sherman)’ and ‘Gvcci Kray La Goth Intro/ DPRSD Bwoi’. Through constant release of consitent progressive material Kray along with his Goth Money family were able leave their imprint on the underground in 2013. This was just the beginning as 2014 would see the Goth Money ‘goons’ reign supreme.
In summary, Black Kray’s 2013 is the perfect example of an ‘organic’ rise in the underground. He had paid his dues in 2011/2012, got himself connected with the right people and stayed true to his original vision. He bet on his talents to succeed. Safe to say his ‘bet’ worked as he ended 2013 as one of the biggest influencers in the underground. His potential to grow was boundless. 2013 was truly the year where it began for Black Kray, Sickboyrari, Iced Out Uzi, Gvcci Kray La’Goth, PersianCellphonePrince or 10k Motorola. He showed us the ‘shyne’ for the first time. Entering 2014 the underground scene would witness the full ‘shyne’ of Black Kray and Goth Money Records.
2014 was a landmark year for Black Kray and a groundbreaking year for Goth Money. In 2014 Goth Money proved they belong amongst the legendary pioneers of the underground. A dominant year for Goth Money, 2014 will go down as the year of the ‘shyne’. It was 2014 where old relationships would continue to blossom and a new relationship with Yung Lean and GTSB would lead to a nationwide tour for Goth Money. With the tour came mass exposure but Kray did what he always does, which is stay true to himself and his original vision. Throughout 2014 Kray would continue to push boundaries both musically and aesthetically, furthering his strong influence over the underground.
Black Kray began 2014 by releasing his second tape under Goth Money Records, ‘Goth Luv’ (Released January 16, 2014). This tape furthers the boundaries broken by ‘Ice Cream and Mac 10s’ both musically and aesthetically. Throughout the project it is evident that Kray had reached a new level. His slang-laden, hypnotic flow slides perfectly over the ambient genre bending production. The elements of Kray’s vocals and his beat selection fuse together astoundingly on this tape to create an 11 track experience which sends the listener through a roller coaster of emotions. On each song Kray manages to evoke feelings of joy, love, sadness, braggadocio, nostalgia and vulnerability. ‘Goth Luv’ achieves what many projects fail to do. It manages to draw listeners into a aesthetically-driven world, but at the same time it stimulates the personal emotions of the listeners. The nostalgia-inducing BG samples, Kurt Angle interviews and No-Limit tank references are contrasted with heart-wrenching beats and Kray’s signature hypnotic flow. Kray’s mixture of aesthetic and ‘emotion’ could be viewed as a contradiction. But it this stark contrast which creates the Black Kray experience. The contrast creates an experience where aesthetic, emotions and nostalgia unite in unison to provoke the listener’s true self. On Goth Luv, the Richmond ‘soljuh’ had ascended to a new level.
During the ‘Goth Luv’ era Kray released videos for ’30 Round Clip Kreayshawn’, ‘Stylin Wit Da Tec’ and ‘Flexican Gudda Luv’. Each of these visuals established his unique aesthetic. These visuals illustrated Kray’s artistic genius. The ‘hoodteen’ was able to display his aesthetic in ways which have not been seen since Lil B’s first run of self-directed music videos in 2010. The flip-phone ‘twerkin’, the dirty forces and the unique mannerisms all illustrate different aspects of Kray’s universe. The music videos from the ‘Goth Luv’ era display each aspect of his universe. Each video is a crash course in the Goth Money aesthetic. Bones may have been credited with starting the VHS wave in the underground but Black Kray took it to new heights with his slew of VHS music videos. These timeless music videos helped further Kray’s growing legend.
The ‘Goth Luv’ era will go down as one of the most important eras in post Lil-B history. It was an era where Kray solidified himself as a pioneer in the underground. Ice Cream n Mac 10’s can was the initial bombshell but Goth Luv is the tape which laid the foundation for Kray and Goth Money’s continued success. With ‘Goth Luv’ Kray had inspired his peers and he transformed into a more focused artist. With a unique art direction and an extremely unique sound Kray possessed a mystique not seen since the early days of SpaceGhostPurrp and Lil Ugly Mane. What came next was more of the same. Black Kray was now more ‘art rich’ than ever.
Following the success of ‘Goth Luv’ Black Kray focused on his next project. His next project ‘City Of Doves’ (Released May 21, 2014) can be considered ‘Goth Luv’s’ darker, older brother. Sonically ‘City Of Doves’ is similar to Goth Luv, however Kray‘s lyrics and tone are a stark contrast to the heavenly delivery exhibited on ‘Goth Luv’. The evolution from ‘Goth Luv’ to ‘City Of Doves’ showed the maturation of Kray as an artist. It showed his ability to evolve whilst remaining true to his original style. Some artists tend to sacrifice their quality in order to pursue fans outside of the underground realm but Kray stayed as true as ever. ‘Ice Cream n Mac 10’s’ and ‘Goth Luv’ were Kray’s ‘breakthrough’ tapes whereas ‘City Of Doves’ was another classic addition to his discography. It introduced fans to another dimension of the Goth Money Universe. It showed underground fans that Black Kray was here to stay. He was more than an internet flash-in-the-pan. Retrospectively, City Of Doves can be seen the project that sowed the seeds for Kray’s longevity in the game. He had struck gold three times, a rare feat in today’s artistic environment.
Succinct yet otherworldly, the tape is a 40 minute flight through the ‘guddah’. Raw self-expression reigns supreme throughout the tape as it always does with Black Kray’s music. The rawness more refined, the expression more focused. City of Doves is the embodiment of Kray’s artistic maturation. Kray’s perfect beat selection and darker lyrical themes make City Of Doves an introspective listen. Tracks such as “Red Tear Drops Goth Crip” (Prod. Jayyeah), “No Luv” (Prod. French), and “5130” (Prod. Nellak) will have you in emotional trance. “Plug Walk” (Prod. Dj Kenn), and “Why Mah Soljuhs Cry” (Prod Nedarb Nagrom and MFK) are two of his hardest tracks since “Depressed Oceans”. “92 Lexus” (Prod. Rose), “Bi Polar Uzi” (Prod. Jayyeah), “Watch Mah Hart Bleed” (Prod. By Squint) will make you take flight with the doves in Flexico.
As a project, City of Doves was Black Kray’s most cohesive of 2014. Black Kray managed to refine and re-engineer his many styles to create a masterpiece. All the elements of Kray’s prior projects were present they had just evolved. With City Of Doves Kray showed the world he was not willing to sacrifice his sound for the pursuit of a bigger fanbase. Instead he chose to stay true to himself and his vision, a common theme throughout his legendary career.
During the ‘City Of Doves’ era Kray released visuals for ’92 Lexus’, ‘Red Tear Drops Goth Crip’ and ‘Prada Bo’. “92 Lexus” followed the same formula as the visuals from the ‘Goth Luv’ era. It was another insight into the darker aspects of Kray’s world. “Red Tear Drops Goth Crip” is perhaps the most underappreciated Black Kray music video. Shot by Bootychaaain, the video is the true depiction of the ‘durtroad’. With cameos from a pistol-toting Hunned Mill and Kane Grocerys, Kray and his ‘soljuhs’ depict the essence of the struggle. The visual coupled with the song combined to create another impactful perspective-changing piece of art.
“Prada Bo” could be the rarest Kray visual. Shot by Blizzedout its shows Kray shyned up and draped out in designer. The visual features Kray, at peace with nature and his ancient surroundings, a fitting visual for one of the lighter songs off of ‘City Of Doves’. Visually, musically and aesthetically the City Of Doves era is Kray at the peak of his powers. He had refined his craft to the point of perfection and he showed the underground world that he was here to stay. He proved to us that Black Kray was not a gimmick but instead a beacon of light the underground music scene needed desperately. He and his Goth Money comrades were embodying their aesthetic: the struggle had been witnessed and now the shyne was about to commence.
By mid-2014 Kray had released three classic projects. He pioneered an artistic renaissance. Underground fans, who were once fractured, were now united in anticipation for the future of Black Kray and his Goth Money soldiers.
As 2014 progressed so did Black Kray. For his fourth project, ‘700 Dagreez’ (Released October 17, 2014), he introduced a new moniker, ‘Lil Shyne’. Although he was very much the same artist, the ‘Lil Shyne’ alias emphasised the position Kray was at in his artistic journey. He solidified his position atop the underground and now it was time for ‘Lil Shyne’ to share his light with the people. The ‘shyne’ is a common theme throughout Kray’s catalogue but ‘700 Dagreez’ can be seen as the project where he taught everyone the art of ‘shyne’.
Sonically, Kray treads similar water with ‘700 Dagreez’. It can be seen as a fusion of his past projects. Elements of Ice Cream and Mac 10s, Goth Luv and City Of Doves all form together to create the art of ‘shyne’. Tracks such as ‘Stevie J and Joseline’ (Produced by Greaf), ’30 Goth Tearz’ (Produced by F1LTHY), ‘30k Uzi’ (Produced by Yung Icey), ‘All White Rain’ (Produced by Jayyeah), ‘7 Roses’ which features bladee (Produced by Pentagrvm) and 28s On Ah Nascar (Produced by Blizzedout) showcase Kray in his finest form.
To contrast the ‘emotional’ tone set by the majority of the project Kray placed tracks such as: ‘H1 Soljuhs’ (Produced by Mysticphonk), ‘Yung 6 Speed’ (Produced by Suicideyear), ‘Lap 500 Victory’ (Produced by Luckaleannn) and ‘Walk Wid Me’ (Produced by 10k Motorola) to illustrate his versatility. These tracks listed above can be seen as an ode to the Ice Cream n Mac 10s era.
‘700 Dagreez’ was the arrival of Black Kray. Kray had put people on notice with: Ice Cream and Mac 10s, Goth Luv and City Of Doves but it was ‘700 Dagreez’ which revolutionised the wider underground stratosphere. A fractured post-Raider Klan scene was now united under the Goth Money aesthetic. “VLL BLVCK” had become a thing of the past. Fans were now “POSI THUGGIN”. ‘700 Dagreez’ raised the bar for Goth Money and brought a newfound attention to their future releases (such as Kane Grocerys ‘Trap Goth’). ‘700 Dagreez’ brought the movement to new heights. It established the legacy Goth Money holds in today’s underground community.
During the ‘700 Dagreez’ era Kray released two extremely successful visuals. Firstly, he released the video for ‘Stevie J and Joseline’ which is another ‘Hi8HOODTEEN’ classic. The VHS footage coupled with the text overlays give viewers a familiar Black Kray experience. Secondly, Kray released a video for the Blizzedout produced ‘28s On Ah Nascar’ AKA ‘Daytona 500’. Directed by Will Hoopes, who is known for his work with Yung Gleesh, this video shows Kray branching out into another lane. This video is more polished and professional than his previous D.I.Y. efforts. Both of the videos were good additions to Kray videography and furthermore propelled the success of the 700 Dagreez tape.
In conclusion, ‘700 Dagreez’ is Kray’s most impactful tape. It can be seen as a timestamp in which Goth Money began its reign atop the underground scene. By dropping another classic project, Kray’s 2014 can be viewed as one of the most prolific years in underground history.By releasing: ‘Goth Luv’, ‘City of Doves’ and ‘700 Dagreez’, 2014 will be known as the year where Kray asserted his domininance upon the underground. He laid the platform for Goth Money’s ascendancy. In 2014 Kray showed us the ‘shyne’, showed us self-expression and pioneered a style that is still prominent 5 years later. In 2014 the masses weren’t ready for Kray. He was the beacon of light the music game desperately needed.
Outside of his solo projects, Kray maintained his artistic presence through collaborations and the creation of the ‘Hood Doves’ short film. This content helped Kray push his mysterious aesthetic to new audiences.
The most notable collaboration was a series of songs with ex- Raider Klan head honcho SpaceGhostPurrp. The collaborations with the polarising SpaceGhostPurrp occurred in mid-late 2014. The two exchange verses over a menacing Purrp beat to create the track ‘GothMoneyWorld’. This track was released on clothing brand 10Deep’s SoundCloud and it sent shockwaves through the underground community. Purrp, who was the undergrounds main antagonist at the time, was able to reconnect with an audience he alienated by dropping a timeless track with the up-and-coming Kray. To follow up the bombshell that was ‘GothMoneyWorld’ Kray hopped on another SGP beat to create the track ‘Lil Rari’. The manic-paced banger still stands as one of Kray best loose tracks.
To many fans these collaborations were perceived as Kray reaching out to broader audiences. But these collaborations were simply the organic continuation of relationships which were established years ago. In 2011/2012 Black Kray was a part of the Raider Klan skate team, establishing his relationship with SpaceGhostPurrp. Once Kray started gaining traction with his music it was only natural for those that he had helped years ago to help him. SpaceGhostPurrp reciprocated the love Kray showed when the underground was in its infant stages.
By staying true to his artistic vision, Kray’s relationships that he established years ago had organically transformed into collaborative work, work which brought the underground scene back together. His collaborations with Purrp may seem scarce but it goes deeper than the surface. It was a display of reciprocity at its finest.
For original underground heads, 2013/14 is seen as the last ‘true’ year of the modern internet scene. This narrative can be attributed to the success of Kray and Goth Money Records. Their rise helped revive underground music. The Goth Money ‘soljuhs’ became the unifying force during this era. As Lil B and Raider Klan did before them, they provided a unique blend of aesthetic and nostalgia and pioneered a movement. Musically 2013/14 was one of the strongest periods in underground music. Xavier Wulf, Chris Travis and Bones joined forces to create SeshHollowWaterBoyz, SpaceGhostPurrp continued to push sonic boundaries with IntoXXXicated, Thraxxhouse & Schemaposse emerged and Yung Lean/GTSB took the world by storm. Internet music was on the cusp of a boom. The fact that Goth Money’s and Black Kray’s music is considered some of the best from this era is a testament to the quality of their work.
By the end of 2014 ‘Lil Shyne’ along with his label mates were leaders in the underground. They had unified an ever-growing underground fanbase under their aesthetic. As the underground landscape continued to evolve, we bore witness to the influence Kray and Goth Money had upon the new generation of artists. Despite rising to underground stardom, Kray did what he always did. He continued to stay true to his vision and placed faith in the organic growth of his art.
2015/16/17: “THE SHYNE BLUEPRINT’
Entering 2015, the underground was entering a boom period. Several acts embarked on nationwide tours and had their fan bases rise to dizzying heights. Amongst these successful acts were Black Kray and Goth Money Records. With the dawn of a new year a new generation of artists would enter the fray. Slowly, underground music and its aesthetic would become mainstream. In this fluid environment Kray would stay true to his organic rise. He would continue to drop classic content however the ‘game’ as we knew it changed right before our eyes. Underground music became a ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme to attaining fame and notoriety. Game changing, genre bending artistic triumphs became secondary to followers, likes and retweets. With the new generation came change to the ‘game’. The ‘game’ was now ‘fucked up’.
The dawn of 2015 saw Black Kray and Goth Money Records sit atop the underground totem pole. This newfound attention did not cause a drop in their quality however. Kray and his crew would drop a myriad of projects, including a group album titled ‘Trillionaires’. As 2015 progressed underground culture had become mainstream. Kray and his crew stood defiant in the changing climate. They did not sell out. Instead he continued to progress as an artist. By adopting the new alias ‘Sickboyrari’, Kray continued to bless his fans with timeless projects. 2015 is the year which marks the industry invading the underground. Kray kept things ‘art rich’ whilst his contemporaries seemingly got lost in the sauce.
Kray started 2015 by releasing ‘Thug Angel’, his 5th project under Goth Money Records. Released February 23 2015, Thug Angel is another consistent effort from the stalwart. The high standard of all his projects is simply amazing and Thug Angel is no different. Boasting a near flawless discography he had built a cult-like following and Thug Angel entrenched Black Kray as an underground legend.
Thug Angel follows the theme of his previous projects. Kray’s genius ear for beats equates his vocal styling to create another A+ effort. Thug Angel is an evocation of his tireless work ethic. Standout tracks include: Sad Money (Produced by FadedKye), Count It Up (Produced by F1LTHY & The Loosieman) and Uzi Kiss (Produced by Kenshin). Black Kray released visuals for the following songs off the tape: 3rd Ward Doves (Produced by 10k Motorola), 4U (Produced by Tim3 Le$$) and Tru Friends Never Say Die (Produced by Nedarb Nagrom).
Entering 2015 Kray had established himself as an underground legend; Thug Angel propelled his legend. Thug Angel was another project which illustrated his constant evolution as an artist. With each project Black Kray kept refining his tools. His beat selection had become more precise, his flows had become more consistent and the quality of his material remained level with his previous classic outputs His ability to provide a refreshing listening experience with each new project is a true testament to his ability as an artist. Throughout 2015 we would continue to see his evolution and we would begin to realise the influence he held over the rap game.
As the year progressed Kray was locked in atop the underground. Instead of resting on his laurels Black Kray continued his evolution as an artist. The next chapter in this evolution would be the release of ‘Still Strugglin’ Still Shynin’. Akin to 700 Dagreez, ‘Still Strugglin Still Shynin’ merges the several styles in Kray’s arsenal and places them in a 17 track serving of goth greatness.
Released June 12 2015, ‘Still Strugglin Still Shynin’ is the embodiment of the Goth Money experience. Featuring beats that hit harder than Ron Artest in 2004 coupled with an infectious swag behind the mic. Still Strugglin Still Shynin is the project which displays the degree of Kray’s grandiose versatility. The emotionally driven ballads are on display, the high paced bangers are present and everything in between as well. This display of versatility arguably makes ‘Still Strugglin Still Shynin’ his most accessible project for newcomers. There’s something for everyone on this LP.
Standout Tracks from ‘Still Strugglin Still Shynin’ include: ‘Thousand Rose’ (Produced by F1LTHY & The Loosieman), Gucci Mane Wrist (Produced by F1LTHY & The Loosieman), Let Da Block Cry (Produced by Jayyeah) and Fuck Da Guwap I Been Rich (Produced By F1LTHY). Black Kray released visuals for the following singles: Born Alone Die Alone (Produced by 90s Bambino), Yo Gotti (Produced by 10k Motorola) and 4Eva By My Lonely (Produced by Nedarb Nagrom).
Still Strugglin’ Still Shynin is another amazing project from Kray. 6 projects deep he still found ways to innovate and stand out from the crowd. These qualities along with his tireless work ethic meant that he was well established as underground legend in mid-2015. Just as he did during 2013/14 he continued to provide his ‘cult-like’ fanbase with classic works of art. Later in the year Kray began to collaborate with some upstart artists. Some of these artists would go on to gain mainstream fame whilst being directly influenced by his aesthetic.
Black Kray spent time in Atlanta recording and performing with various artists. Some artists were ones who have been linked to Kray since his inception as an artist whilst others where new links on his journey through the rap game.
The first notable link made during his time in Atlanta was with Pollari. These two illustrated dynamic chemistry over a handful of collaborative tracks. These tracks were: Faster (Remix), Little Tony (Produced by Metro Boomin), Funds (Produced by Dexter Dakurus) and the infamous Terror Gang posse cut. It was refreshing to see Kray collaborate with artists who were a part of the new Atlanta wave which was sizzling during 2015.
Kray also linked up with Lil Yachty during this time period. Lil Yachty, who has since gone on to attain mainstream fame with the label QC, has gone on record as saying he is a huge Black Kray fan. It may be hard to believe that a mainstream star was inspired by an internet legend such as Kray but it undoubtedly illustrates the breadth of influence Black Kray has had on the modern rap game. The two artists collaborated on the song ‘Killa Killa’ during this era. ‘Killa Killa’ is a tread banger produced by F1LTHY and it should be considered a moment in history.
Unotheactivist and Thouxanbanfauni collaborated with Black Kray during this era as well. Kray appeared on the ‘Dirty (Remix)’ off of Uno’s tape Gift of the Gab and Kray appeared alongside Fauni on ‘Terror Gang’. In 2015, Uno and Fauni were still in the infancy of their careers but they have since gone on attain large fan bases and are considered pioneers of the ‘SoundCloud Rap’ scene. These collaborations serve as a timestamp to show us that before these new generation artists could fly Kray helped them walk. Black Kray’s influence on the modern rap game cannot be understated.
Arguably the biggest highlight, from an underground perspective, was Kray re-linking with SpaceGhostPurrp. Black Kray was a part of the legendary posse cut ‘Terror Gang’. ‘Terror Gang’ was produced and seemingly the brainchild of SpaceGhostPurrp. Kane Grocerys, Pollari, Black Kray, Mista Splurge, Fauni and Purrp all exchange verses on the track. Seeing Kray, Kane, Purrp and stars from the new generation link together on one track was a monumental moment. Terror Gang seemed like the beginning of a new era in the underground. But politics got in the way, Fauni and Pollari would separate themselves from the underground movement and would go on to garner significant fanbases. Purrp who had been trying to re-establish his career was left ostracised from the music scene yet again. In the midst of this drama, Goth Money and Kray stayed in their lane. The scene around him was chaotic but Black Kray didn’t switch up. The game was now “fucked up” but Kray kept it moving on his own terms.
The time Kray spent in Atlanta, albeit short, was a standout era for internet rap. He was able to link with up and coming artists: Lil Yachty, Unotheactivist, Thouxanbanfauni and Pollari. Terror Gang was positioned to be the dawn of a new era. Instead industry politics brought the movement to a swift end. By mid-2015 the underground was in a state of flux. The new generation of artists, who had been influenced by Black Kray, would go on to achieve stardom never seen before from internet artists. The fact that Kray has inspired some of the game’s biggest artists shows us the breadth of his influence. As the years progress elements of Kray’s aesthetic and style have continued to seep through to the mainstream. It is often a difficult task to quantify influence. But this Atlanta era, where Kray worked with a new generation of stars, is evidence that Kray’s influence was exerted upon these future stars. This era is evidence that Kray is true pioneer in the modern rap world.
The Atlanta era saw Kray expand his reach. The following months would see Goth Money expanding their profile. Goth Money partnered with Break World Records to release their debut album ‘Trillionaires’. Released on October 30, ‘Trillionaires’ boasts the most well-known Goth Money track ‘Movie’. Other standout tracks on the LP include: ‘Hell is You Doin’, ‘Vice City’, ‘Gucci Racks’ and ‘Cuban Link’ (Produced by Pentagrvm).
Trillionaires is a blip on the radar in the timeline of Kray and his Goth Money cohorts but it could have been so much more. The untimely death of Barron Machant, who had promoted Goth Money as his next A&R project, could be one of the greatest what-ifs of Kray’s career. Machant was the founder of Hippos and Tanks and helped launch the careers of Yung Lean and Grimes. Machant was poised to propel Goth Money the way he had done for so many others. Sadly, in tragic circumstances, he passed away before he could do so. Instead of Trillionaires becoming a vehicle to launch Goth Money into a new stratosphere it became a solid standalone project. Machant’s death is not the only reason ‘Trillionaires’ didn’t ascend Goth Money to a new level but it was certainly a contributing factor. Again, Kray and Goth Money seemed to be on the verge of breaking through to new heights. However it wasn’t meant to be.
Following Trillionaires, Kray would close out 2015 by releasing ‘Shitty Sickboy’. ‘Shitty Sickboy’ is a legendary project but it remains slept on until this very day.
To close out 2015 Black Kray, who had transformed into SICKBOYRARI, teamed up with longtime collaborator F1LTHY to bless the music world with ‘Shitty Sickboy’. Released on December 16 2015,’Shitty Sickboy’ is a manic-paced 8 track introduction to the sub-genre of tread. ‘Tread’ was a term coined by Bootychaaain which best describes the high BPM, hard-hitting beats of the Working On Dying production group. ‘Shitty Sickboy’ illustrates the flawless chemistry that Kray and F1LTHY share. Kray’s transcendent abilities behind the microphone work in tandem with F1LTHY’s otherworldly proficiency behind the boards. Two of the undergrounds best collided to produce an undisputed classic. It is undoubtedly one of the hardest projects to come out of this new-age underground. ‘Shitty Sickboy’ can be seen as Kray’s magnum opus.
2015 was the year Black Kray aka SICKBOYRARI cemented his legend. He continued his run of dropping standout projects (Thug Angel, Still Strugglin Still Shynin, Trillionaires and Shitty Sickboy). Although he didn’t breakthrough and receive the recognition he deserved, Kray stayed true to himself and vision. A new generation of artists brought styles which Kray helped cultivate to a broader audience but paid little to no homage to the forefathers of the sauce. Instead of growing frustrated with the politics stopping him from attaining the ‘shyne’ he deserved Kray entered 2016 continuing his artistic journey on his terms. The game was “fucked up” but that would not halt Kray.
5 days into 2016 SICKBOYRARI blessed us with a new project entitled ‘Soulja Luv Rari World’. After a year in which he expanded his profile, ‘Soulja Luv Rari World’ was a return to his core. The underground rap landscape was heavily over-saturated and rapidly changing. In this torrid environment he still blessed his core fans with another consistent project. On the ‘Soulja Luv Rari World’ LP, Kray teams up with familiar collaborators to restore the classic Goth Money feel.
2015 was spent expounding upon his presence in the rap industry. Kray started 2016 by returning to his underground roots. A myriad of factors led to this occurrence. The mainstream thievery and repurposing of his visions and style could be considered the main factor that caused this detour back to the ‘unda’. ‘Soulja Luv Rari World’ is the project that marks this transition back to the newly coined ‘unda’.
‘Soulja Luv Rari World’ featues several classic tracks these include: ‘Shynin on Western Ave’ (Produced by LILBROKEHEART), Stylin Wit Da Tec Pt.2 (Produced by Pentagrvm & Trip Dixon), Throw it Back (Produced by F1LTHY) and Runnin Round [featuring Kane Grocerys] (Produced by F1LTHY).
The music videos from ‘Soulja Luv Rari World’ are: ‘Codeine Tears in Her Fanta’ (Produced by Loudmouf Kang), ‘Luh4Ren’ (produced by Big Lo$) and ‘Inah Party Dancing Wid My Shooter’ (Produced By 10k Motorola).
‘Soulja Luv Rari World’ is a recalibration for Black Kray aka Sickboyrari. 2016 was the start of his 5th year in the game. At this point he had experienced the highs and lows that come with being an underground artist. Throughout this journey he had cultivated a loyal fanbase and he had undoubtedly established himself as an underground legend. 2015 saw Kray expand his profile and his accessibility. The quality of his music had also reached new heights. As his individual star grew it became obvious that newer artists were taking elements of his style and aesthetic without paying homage. These new artists gained mainstream notoriety and left Kray on the outer. No one deserved to breakthrough more than Black Kray. Entering 2016 he had to re-calibrate. Sickboyrari stayed true to his artistic journey and started out the year by dropping ‘Soulja Luv Rari World’. The game was now “fucked up” for Kray but that was not going to impede his forward progress.
As 2016 continued the underground music-sphere continued its pattern of being over-saturated. Gimmicks to garner likes and followers had taken precedence over the art form. Despite the changing landscape Sickboyrari continued to drop music for his core fanbase. ‘Nitemare on Elm Street’ was the latest offering from Kray. Released on April 21 2016, the tape featured a very important track in which he voiced his displeasure with the state of the music scene at the time. This track was ‘Why Da Game So Fucked Up’. This song is Kray voicing his displeasure with the rap game at the time. His ‘shyne’ was being blocked so he had to raise his voice. Tensions between underground artists and industry artists were bubbling and separation was beginning to re-emerge. ‘Why Da Game So Fucked Up’ typifies the state of internet rap at the time. Kray was righteously riding for himself and the underground against the industry politics that had infected the rap game at the time. Sickboyrari was in ‘soljuh’ mode.
Sickboyrari released videos for the following singles off of ‘Nitemare on Elm Street’: 1 Night (Produced by Jayyeah), Lil 2 (Produced by Forza), Diddy Kruger (Produced by Loudmouf Kang), Freddy vs Jason (Produced by Kuba Wyle) and ‘Why Da Game So Fucked Up’ (Produced by Free Diesel).
‘Nitemare on Elm Street’ was another project for Kray’s core fans. It is not groundbreaking like his previous projects were but it is still a stellar addition to his discography. The standout moment from this era was the release of ‘Why Da Game So Fucked Up’. Black Kray was often a figure shrouded in mystique but for this single we saw his true feelings toward the rap game at the time. Kray was an artist who never sought to garner a larger fanbase but seeing artists he inspired attain larger followings without paying their respects to the originators pushed Kray to raise his voice. ‘Why Da Game So Fucked Up’ is a battle cry to fellow artists and publications that he was not willing to play the politics that are required to move up the ladder in the music world. During the early years of his career Kray taught us the ‘shyne’. In 2016 he promptly reminded us who the originator was. ‘Why Da Game So Fucked Up’ and consequently the release of ‘Nitemare on Elm Street’ can viewed as moments in underground history. They signify the moments when the industry over ran the underground music scene. Often quiet and mysterious, Kray rose his voice at the perfect time to show us the state of the rap world. Solidified as a true underground originator, Kray would continue navigating through the music world on his terms.
By mid-2016 the underground was still in a state of flux. The OGs of the scene had either moved on or were overlooked as newer artists emerged. The industry was continually infiltrating and taking aspects of underground culture to help them package their own artists. For a small moment in time Kray restored the original underground feeling by releasing ‘Working Out Da Mud’ (Released July 14, 2016).
‘Working Out Da Mud’ is a collaborative project between Sickboyrari and producer collective Working on Dying. This project expounds upon ‘Shitty Sickboy’ which was produced by WOD (Working on Dying) head honcho F1LTHY. ‘Working Out Da Mud’ furthers the tread music movement that had been established by WOD, Goth Money and Gwallah Gang. This 13 track trek through the manic-paced world of ‘tread’ is another display of Kray’s effervescent chemistry that he shares with the WOD collective. Akin to ‘Shitty Sickboy’, ‘Working Out Da Mud’ is extremely slept on. At this juncture Kray had perfected floating over the frenetic, trunk-rattling strip club soundscapes that the WOD team were providing him with. This collaborative effort can be viewed as an artistic resuscitation for Sickboyrari. His prior efforts in 2016, although solid, were not the ground-breaking projects we had become used to hearing from Kray. ‘Working Out Da Mud’ flipped the script on this narrative as he and WOD combined to provide listeners with with a refreshing listening experience.
‘Working Out Da Mud’ and ‘Shitty Sickboy’ exemplifies the beauty of collaboration. Kray was an underground stalwart who had been prominent in the scene for 5+ years, whilst the WOD crew were just beginning to break-through to the wider underground scene. Working On Dying were pushing sonic boundaries with their esoteric soundscapes similar to how Kray broke barriers during his initial come up. This shared trait of being transcendent was on full display during their collaborative efforts. These “collaborative efforts” include two classic projects and a slew of classic singles. The WOD and Black Kray relationship brought new life to the underground scene. The symbiotic relationship between Kray and WOD furthered both of their careers. Together they helped usher in the ‘tread’ era of underground music.
Standout songs from ‘Working Out Da Mud’ include: ‘4 Bags’ (Produced by F1LTHY & BrandonFinessin), ‘Lil Steve Nash’ (Produced by F1LTHY), Every Day of Da Week (Produced by OOGIEMANE), ‘Freak Hoe’ (Produced by F1LTHY & OOGIEMANE) and ‘Fetty Waup’ (Produced by F1LTHY & BrandonFinessin).
Kray released videos for the following songs off of ‘Working Out Da Mud’: Views From the 4 (Produced by F1LTHY), Sick Flair (Produced by F1LTHY) and Still Dodgin’ (Produced by F1LTHY).
In summary, ‘Working Out Da Mud’ is an extremely underrated project. This tape helped breathe new life into the underground scene. It was another sonic revolution for Kray and WOD. The ‘tread-music’ era, although short lived, helped establish and re-establish artists such as Bootychaaain, La Goony Chonga, 5 Finger Posse and Goth Money Records. The ‘tread’ movement helped resuscitate the underground world and ‘Working Out Da Mud’ was the main factor in that resuscitation. For that reason and many others it can be seen, in retrospect, as a classic project and important era for Black Kray AKA Sickboyrari’s career.
2016 was a turbulent year for the underground music scene. Politics, the emergence of new artists and industry thievery left the scene alienated. But the tread movement arrived and helped add some direction to a fluttering scene. ‘Working Out Da Mud’ helped fuel this movement and suddenly the real ‘unda’ was on the rise again. One of the hardest workers in the underground world continued to add to this ‘fuel’ by dropping the SadBoy EP which was fully produced by esteemed producer Pentagrvm.
The ‘SadBoy’ EP is a short 5 track offering from Rari and Pentagrvm. It is a change of pace from the frantic nature of ‘Working Out Da Mud’ and a welcome addition to Kray’s discography. The two artists had been frequent collaborators since 2014 making this EP a natural progression for their creative partnership.
Sickboyrari’s versatility is on full display throughout this EP. He was able to seamlessly switch from the frenetic vibe of ‘Working Out Da Mud’ to the more ethereal environment set by Pentagrvm on the ‘SadBoy’ EP. Kray is able to evolve his sound in matter months, a level of evolution which some artists could only dream to achieve over several years. This EP also helps shine light on one of the undergrounds most underrated producers; Pentagrvm. Pentagrvm had built his profile through prior collaborations with: Kirblagoop, Karmah, TripDixon, Badmon Benz, Wifigawd and Amber London.
By teaming up with Pentgrvm for the ‘SadBoy’ EP Kray provided his fanbase with another evolution. He went from pioneering the tread movement to a whole different wave in the matter of months. Kray’s creative muscle was on full display during this period. He was still producing timeless content but many felt he wasn’t being blessed with the exposure he deserved. By the end of 2016 the mainstream had become a clone of underground culture. Kray wasn’t getting his just recognition for being a pioneer. He continued working until the masses would recognise the breadth of his greatness.
As we moved into 2017 the underground scene was still in a precarious state. It was becoming increasingly obvious that he underground OGs had inspired the new stars in the rap game. The ‘sauce’ had been taken from the originators but the recipe remained with transcendent artists such as Black Kray.
Surprisingly, Kray did not drop his first LP of 2017 until June. This LP was the oft-delayed ‘4000 Dagreez’. After two collaborative projects ‘4000 Dagreez’ is a return to the traditional Kray format. The 19 track offering shares similarities with earlier projects such as: ‘700 Dagreez’ and ‘Still Strugglin Still Shynin’. On ‘4000 Dagreez’ Kray utilised a multitude of producers to help match his malleable abilities as a recording artist. As stated previously ‘4000 Dagreez’ is akin to his earlier works because the project is a collision course between his various styles and sounds.
Standout singles from ‘4000 Dagreez’ include: ‘Pounds’ (Produced by Free Diesel), Wrist Talk (Produced by 10k Motorola), ‘Fucked Up Mah Racks Went Broke’ (Produced by BossBeatz), ‘Perky’ (Produced by Bossbeatz).
Kray released videos for the following songs off of ‘4000 Dagreez’: ‘Inda Cut Likah Sniper’ (Produced by Free Diesel), LV Same Color Mah Shorty (Prod Trapmoneymelo) and ‘Tedy Brukshot’ (Produced by F1LTHY).
‘4000 Dagreez’ is a testament to Black Kray’s longevity and his ability as an artist. After 6 years of dropping music he was able to release music that was innovative both sonically and flow-wise. By 2017 Kray’s status as a legend was firmly cemented. His continued presence in the music scene was one-of-a-kind. Slowly the underground community began to realise the amount of influence Kray had exerted on the broader rap world. Sickboyrari closed out the year with another EP but in 2018 we would begin to see Kray rise from the ‘unda’.
‘Weepn n Da Trench’ is a 6 track EP from Sickboyrari. Released on December 11, it was Kray’s last release of 2017. On this EP Kray links up with producers: Pentagrvm, Trip Dixon and JaguarClaw. The EP lacks the polish and thematic consistency of his previous projects but it still serves as a reasonable addition to a die-hard fans collection. ‘Weepn n Da Trench’ isn’t an essential listen however it is a worthy listen if you are delving into the depths of Black Kray’s universe.
Throughout 2015, 2016 and 2017 the underground was a turbulent environment. The dawn of new artists and an increased industry presence meant things weren’t as “pure” as they were during the undergrounds golden era. Industry backed artists were actively stealing sounds, aesthetics and styles from underground OGs like Kray. The game was “Fucked up”. Rather than partake in the politics and clout chasing Kray transformed into Sickboyrari. He continued his evolution as an artist. Throughout this era Kray blessed us with classic projects such as: Thug Angel, Shitty Sickboy, Still Strugglin Still Shynin and Working Out Da Mud. In this tumultuous environment Kray was able to re-calibrate and reinvent himself as an artist. This era shows his true excellence. In 2013/14 he broke through with his unique style and outlandish aesthetic. In the years following he carved out his own lane in the rap game. By the end of 2017 Kray was like an underground messiah. His relentless work ethic and dynamism as an artist ensures he will go down in history as one of the most influential independent rap artists of the internet era. It was evident that Kray was not getting the recognition he deserved. 2018 would change this to a degree. The originator of the ‘shyne’ was to receive the mass exposure he truly deserved. 2018/19 was all about paying homage to the ‘shyne’.
2018/2019: THE JOURNEY CONTINUES
By 2018 Sickboyrari had entrenched himself as a real legend in the underground. His tireless work ethic and transcendent art helped set the blueprint for all independent artists. During 2018/19 there were still several landmark moments for Kray. 6+ years deep and he was still furthering his legend. Through his own greatness Sickboyrari continues to establish an everlasting legacy in the rap game. 2018 and currently 2019 is all about celebrating his legend and celebrating his art as he continues his improbable rise through the rap game.
In terms of projects Rari only dropped two EPs throughout 2018. These were: ‘Depressed Shooter’ with FHN Mook and a solo EP titled ‘Blood Rain’. These EPs are essential listens for die-hard Kray fans.
It was during 2018 it became apparent that Kray was changing the way he released his music. In 14/15 Kray was releasing 3-4 full length projects per year with videos which complemented the singles of each project. The music landscape had drastically changed since then. Full length projects had become a thing of the past. EPs, singles, music videos and curated playlists had taken precedence as the main ways to consume music. The listener’s attention span had been dwarfed due to the breadth of content that was at a listener’s finger tips. In response to this changing landscape Sickboyrari switched up how he released content. The response from Kray was to delay the release of his highly anticipated solo project ‘Cradle 2 Da Grave’ and instead focus on dropping singles with accompanying music videos. The most exciting releases came when Kray’s music videos for ‘Tearful’ and ‘Catch Me Outside’ were released on WorldStarHipHop.
The release of ‘Tearful’ was landmark moment in the career of Black Kray and a history making moment in the underground. This was because ‘Tearful’ was premiered on WorldStarHipHop. WorldStarHipHop had become the premium platform for well-established artist to post their music. Kray finally had the chance to display his art on one of the largest platforms in the rap game.
‘Tearful’ released on August 21 2018, was produced by Trapphones and directed by the talented videographer Moshpit DMV. The video contrasts Kray’s esoterism with the environment of the ‘durt road’. Essentially the video shows the greater audience his world. He is flocked with his ‘soljuhs’ in abandoned lands and Moshpit seamlessly superimposed imagery of Jupiter to match the song’s lyrics. The video is the perfect way to depict Kray, his unique style and his unique art to the broader Worldstar audience. The progression in Kray’s work is evident in ‘Tearful’. He progressed from ‘D.I.Y.’ music videos to industry standard masterpieces. ‘Tearful’ being premiered on WorldStarHipHop was a coming of age for Black Kray and his fanbase. No one deserved this moment in the sun more than Sickboyrari AKA Black Kray.
Kray’s next drop on Worldstar was ‘Catch Me Outside’. He teamed up with Moshpit DMV again to create another outstanding visual experience. ‘Tearful’ was a classic Kray track, whereas ‘Catch Me Outside’ was a lighter sounding up-beat banger from Kray. ‘Catch Me Outside’ was produced by frequent collaborator JaguarClaw. His first Worldstar appearance was a pleasant surprise but his sophomore effort showed us that he belongs on the larger platforms.
No one deserved this elevation to the larger platform more than Kray. Fans had witnessed his constant grind to achieve the ‘shyne’ and to see him featured on WorldStar was an exciting moment for his loyal fanbase. It can’t be stressed enough how much Black Kray deserved these crowning moments. Finally people were beginning to realise the greatness of the original ‘sicko’.
‘Tearful’ and ‘Catch Me Outside’ were the landmark releases of 2018 for Black Kray. But he relased several gems on his own YouTube throughout 2018 and up until this current date. These releases helped set the table for his highly anticipated project ‘Cradle 2 Da Grave’. These new singles and videos were further evidence of Kray’s constant artistic evolution.
This current era has seen Kray release numerous videos. ‘Tearful’ and ‘Catch Me Outside’ were the standout releases but he dropped several low-key gems such as: Not Facinated, Pick & Choose, Feel My Pain, Slitshyt, K9 Crew and 4L.
These music videos show Kray’s ascent to a new level. His mastery of the art form was on full display with these singles. From 2018 right up to this current date Kray has ascended to a new level. As his profile continues to rise so does the hype for his next solo project. ‘Cradle 2 Da Grave’, based off his recent releases, is set to be an instant classic.
2018/2019 has been a triumphant time period for the ‘soljuh’. His placements on WorldStarHipHop gave him a new wave of exposure and his music is constantly levelling up. Outside of his solo work Kray was featured on City Morgue’s (SOS Mula & ZillaKami) debut project. He was featured on the songs ‘KenPark187’ and ‘GraveHop’.
Kray’s fan base has always spanned many countries but his global reach was on full display in late 2018. In November Kray and Bootychaaain were booked to perform in New Zealand. This international show was another milestone for Kray and emphasises the global reach his art has. This New Zealand show seems to be the start of further international shows for Kray and Bootychaaain. He is currently in the process of taking bookings in Europe as a part of the ‘Sicko Euro’ tour. Touring the world is something most independent artists can only dream of doing but Kray’s art has transcended the globe and now it’s a dream he can achieve.
The last year has been extremely fruitful for Black Kray AKA Sickboyrari. In 2018 we witnessed Black Kray on the WorldStar platform. We saw Kray collab with the buzzing duo City Morgue and he performed abroad for the first time. 2018 was a year full of landmark achievements and this momentum has carried into 2019. With ‘Cradle 2 Da Grave’ on the way and a European tour on the horizon the future looks promising for Kray.
By staying true to himself and artistic vision Black Kray AKA Sickboyrari has forged a transcendent career in the music world. Kray has spent 8+ years in the ‘game’ and shows no sign of slowing down. The music scene has ebbed and flowed but Kray’s presence has remained consistent. Whether it was the early stages of his career when his music was as experimental as ever, the early years of Goth Money Records when they broke through and changed the rap game forever, the tread movement where it became clear the game was ‘fucked up’ or in the current era where Kray continues to evolve and impress. His consistency is one element that helped create the legend of Black Kray.
Throughout his career we have been blessed to see the amazing evolution of his style, flows, sounds and aesthetics. This constant evolution has been another key factor in Kray’s career. The factor that truly pioneers his legend is his originality. His originality transcends many that have come before and many that will come after him. When he first arrived on the scene Kray was a breath of fresh air. Once he established himself he brought a storm of change. He dared to be different, He didn’t conform to the norms of internet artistry and most importantly he taught us the art of ‘shyne’.
It is for these reasons coupled with his legendary discography that Kray should be remembered as one of the greatest artists of the internet era. Black Kray’s name belongs in the same tier of other transcendent artists such as SpaceGhostPurrp and Lil B because he has undoubtedly changed the game. He has become a master of his craft. He has become a real underground legend. If anyone deserves to really get it out the mud it is Black Kray.
It is often said we don’t give people their flowers whilst they can still smell them. We can give Kray his flowers right now if we continue to support his legendary career. It must be known that Black Kray AKA Sickboyrari is one of the biggest influences in the modern rap game. He is the forefather to the artists we see now. He is a certified legend and one of the greatest artists of the internet era. He is an underground king who unequivocally did things his way. He is the essence of staying true. He is the original ‘sicko’. He is Black Kray AKA Sickboyrari.
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