Lord Sko is an upcoming rapper from New York City. At the young age of only 16, he’s already been able to accomplish an array of achievements, including a hard to earn cosign from A$AP Mob member A$AP Twelvyy. Over the past month and a half, his debut album 13th Angel has been receiving a ton of buzz in the Instagram rap community. With a ton of hype and a chance at becoming the youngest rapper to blow up since Chief Keef, can Lord Sko seize on this opportunity?
First and foremost, it’s important to understand the profound set of skills Sko possesses. While most rappers at his age will chase a Tik Tok hit and obnoxiously clout chase, Lord Sko lets his multifaceted arsenal do all the talking he needs. From the grimy annihilation of “Chris Benoit” to the tripped-out “Last Page,” each song presented has its own distinctive feel. On top of this, the concept referenced throughout the record is one of the most unique approaches I’ve seen in a hip hop project ever. Going on an acid trip, Sko sees his life unfold all the way to his eventual death. Processing these events, each track represents a different moment that has been brought by in this psychedelic adventure. While the concept presented is top-notch, its actual execution isn’t as well thought out as it should have been, as some moments still feel disjointed or poorly connected to the overall experience. Still, what’s given is more than enough to make these 28 minutes a thrill ride go through. His intuitive rhyme schemes and paranoid lyrics shine through, especially on “Bruises//In His Sins,” which is one of the best displays of deluded storytelling seen in recent memory. Being able to resonate with those struggling with self-love and inner torture, cuts like “Asylum” and “Grudges” do a solid job at connecting with the listener due to their deluded vocals and powerful songwriting. When it comes to these cuts, the only real issue I can draw up is that the New York MC sometimes stumbles over his own flow, which causes things to become a little messy. On the other portion of the LP, we tend to get much more charged up bangers for the most part. Headlined by the hecticness of “HDMI” and “Fork In The Road we see Lord Sko pursue the medium of the trap and drill sounds many have climbed the charts with, but his topical depth makes them more interesting than most of the competition. A definite standout in this section is “100 Rounds,” which perfectly ties together the rest of the previously stated elements into one vocally changing heartfelt cry for help. Even better than that, “Grudges” is easily the album’s surefire peak as Sko stares himself in the mirror and try to find the meaning of his life as he excretes that he doesn’t want to die young. Aside from the previously stated issues and the fact that he wears influences like A$AP Rocky and other cloud rappers on his sleeve, Lord Sko’s performance is already more integral than some rappers could ever strive for.
Sonically, there’s a well-arranged soundtrack, which sounds like it was fairly expensive to put together. Whether it’s the intoxicating vocals at the start of “Asylum” or the grand piano solo on “Last Page,” every track is well presented and everchanging. This allows for all nine songs to feel distinctive, which certainly makes the pacing of this project move smoother than most others in its weight class. Aside from the occasional poor mixing, the various effects and pitch changes in the voice of Lord Sko adds to the suspense he’s created with his illusive songwriting. From the spacey background vocals residing in “Chris Benoit” or the Travis Scott like hums on the bride of “Fork In The Road,” the high-quality distortions add more unpredictability to this already dynamic journey. “End of Days” is at the pinnacle of this as the contrast between Sko’s pain-filled lyrics and the chord changes both high and low is something I cant recall seeing done this good anywhere else. While “Bruises//In His Skins” contains some of Sko’s best moments, its soundscape felt like a straight knock off of A$AP Rocky’s “Fashion Killa”. Even with issues like these, the overall quality of the soundscape does an above-average job at tying this entire musical thriller together.
Out of all the hardworking talent hip hops current underground scene helms, I can safely say 13th Angel is one of the best records the entire field has to offer. Lord Sko has bonified super-star potential, and while all the elements to make a classic haven’t fully resonated with him yet, he will only step into these shoes as he grows in both experience and age. Going forward, Lord Sko is near the top of my scorching hot rising artist radar and if you want to be just as up to date on his endeavors as I am, be sure to follow @lordsko on Instagram!
- Great concept
- Lord Sko’s well rounded as an artist
- Super passionate in his subject matter and delivery
- Shows the ability to be a star going forward
- Well rounded soundtrack backing his efforts
- Concept could have been better executed
- Trips over his quick flow sometimes
- Some slight mixing issues