PatricKxxLee - Dark Side Down Review
PatricKxxLee and J Molley are the most established and well-known South African Soundcloud artists and the main counterparts of the “Internet Wav”. Their popularity has risen astronomically. Between multiple serious co-signs and dedicated fan bases, they seem to be on path to dominate the industry.
In 2016, PatricKxxLee was amongst the most spoken artists in South Africa. Unlike the majority of Soundcloud artists, his Soundcloud plays and likes actually translate into a real fan base (Yes, I see you niggas buying plays and likes. To keep this short, get the fuck outta here. You’re just lying to yourself. Get a job). PatricKxx can comfortably create an impromptu appearance on any given day and hundreds of fans would line up within hours (as he’s actually demonstrated). His dedication to his fans alongside his alluring music have resulted in him being easily received within the industry. He released and was featured on various singles with other Soundcloud artists (such as Champagne 69, GATOR and Ricco) whilst dropping an EP and album between 2016 and the back end of 2017. His debut album, “Diary of an Arsonist” received much acclaim for its incredible production, numbing introspection and genuine cohesiveness.
J Molley had a different upbringing within music realms. Molley gained notoriety through the former group, “Treehouse Worldwide”. He was the clear standout artist amongst other musicians. He released “Hype
” which was essentially the beginning of his solo career. “Hype” received exactly what was intended. Serious hype
. Anybody who had knowledge about the melodic rap scene in South Africa would be the first to mention him as “the next one
” to blow up. They were correct. Molley received a game changing co-sign from Ricky Rick alongside featuring on his posse cut
with YoungstaCPT, Frank Casino, KLY, Stilo Magolide and Da L.E.S. It’s the same song where he claimed the name, “Leader of the new school”. Within the second half of 2017, he released a mixtape titled “Dreams Money Can Buy”. The mixtape left many with mixed emotions of disappointment for its narrow direction (he’s far too talented for his lack of creative direction) and lacking his own
voice. However, the project had a few songs which were definite bangers that are easily capable of serious attention if a label marketed him correctly.
Our first interaction with PatricKxx was his hit single with Molley, “Phonerotica”. It was so remarkable that I was forced to catch up on PatricKxx’s entire discography. Well worth the time and energy. It’s also PatricKxx’s most streamed song yet (in excess of 100 000 plays). One can only hope that their second known collaboration attempt is also well produced, creative and sonically stimulating. The two artists hinted at the song, “Dark Side Down” for months, ensuring anticipation levels were high. It released at midnight through Apple Music only. For those who are unaware, that was an unprecedented action by PatricKxx as he gained his following through Soundcloud and is someone who seems relatively “indebted” to the platform. The song arrived on Soundcloud a week later (due to Apple’s terms) but it’s pretty clear that this was a big move. PatricKxx felt so indebted to the platform and his fans that he went as far as asking his fan base if it was the right decision.That says enough about his character and why he's loved. In essence, the move showed what can happen to talented musicians who gained popularity through Soundcloud’s platform. Moreover, it signified that he’s much bigger than Soundcloud but now, a locally renowned star.
Now that the duo both have projects under their belt, we can anticipate how they've managed to grow their sound.“Dark Side Down” begins with a distorted sound. PatricKxx's eerie voice ties together with this noise before other layers within the beat come into place and the bass drops (a key style that PatricKxxLee has learnt to use at the right times). The beat is a very dark. It’s based on dissonant chords and a general lack of chord resolution. That sense of eeriness sets the mood for the sexual, aggressive and melancholic lyrics.
The chorus' lyrics speak about how PatricKxxLee notices a girl with a boyfriend. She seems to be interested in him ("Cause I know the money brought you over here") but for him to act on her interest, he's going to need to see her dancing to know if she's worth the effort, money and potential confrontation with her "barking nigga". The second theme refers to taking ecstasy (“Mandy”) and how the girl is a slave to brandy. Based off the chorus alone, one begins to realize the basis of the song is speaking on money (and its power), substance addiction and sex. The topics aren’t new to music but similar to Future’s ability to illustrate his pain musically, PatricKxx tends to bare it all and act introspectively.
Molley enters with his distinguishable, pitched yet beautiful voice after the chorus. He continues discussing the theme of materialism as he mentions "Louis bags" and how he is "Controlled by the bands" and "... a slave to the cash". However, Mollley brings something new and contemplative to the song. He mentions his addiction to alcohol and xans alongside his struggles with depression and temptations to commit suicide. This is what makes Molley and PatricKxx special. Their ability to describe what so many are going through whilst making music that resonates sonically.
PatricKxx gathers the second verse and enforces J Molley’s content. He mentions death, addiction and how he deals/dealt with pain. People tend to jump the conclusion, due to throbbing 808s, that melodic rap does not have any content and doesn’t require any skill. An artist’s ability to be introspective is probably amongst one of the hardest traits to develop. Whether complex or simple lyricism is involved, storytelling is a skill that only so few can master. It’s about detailing your feelings and occurrences in a relatable manner rather than trying to construct a complex story. PatricKxx knows how to do this. He rhymes, "I don't cover up my scars, my story written on my arms" It could easily be misinterpreted into thinking he was referring to cutting his arms and depression, however, it's a reference to how his tattoos all have meanings and act as symbols. After the metaphor, PatricKxx’s content moves onto sexual references whilst maintaining the topic of substances and materials. He mentions how a women dressed in Prada is drinking vodka in his car. He goes onto reference his inconsistencies with women as he says he’s "switching girls like Nintendo", "playing them" and asking them if they've listened to his music (as if they have, they're aware that their "relationship" isn't likely to last) as PatricKxx is well known for documenting about his relations with women. He elaborates further by saying that he he numbs girls’ pains, similar to the effects of Oxycodone, until he leaves them (as he usually does).
His lyricism isn’t exceptional by any means. It’s not filled quadruple entendres and multi-syllabic rhyme schemes but he knows how to make lyrics simple so they’re relatable whilst throwing in some wordplay, metaphors and puns here and then.
Overall, this is a good song. The instrumental’s production goes hand-in-hand with the in-depth dark lyrics and it maintains the relative idea that they’re capable of making music that’s easy to recite. Through this, PatricKxxLee further proved his point of being the most consistent Soundcloud rapper in Johannesburg. J Molley has erased the doubts that people may have had of him following his latest project and we hope he’s not afraid to be introspective in his own music too. A well-executed content filled with intricate production, insightful content and surreal chemistry. The release signifies that the duo have clear chemistry and we're looking forward to seeing their next attempt together, their next projects and how much further they get in the industry.