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The Scarlet & Black

Sicko Mobb brings original rap

Photo by Minh Tran
Photo by Minh Tran

This Saturday night, rising hip-hop duo Sicko Mobb will bring their bombastic, party-oriented rap music to Gardner lounge.

Sicko Mobb, AKA Lil Ceno and Lil Trav, create an infectious and original style of rap music. Many of their songs are built around a consistent, highly engaging and enduring formal structure. A typical Sicko Mobb song comprises of an ecstatic, busy, pulsating beat and a simple, sugary melody that is reminiscent of artists like Soulja Boy, T-Pain and Young Thug. These melodies break up and accompany verses from Trav and Ceno.

Furthermore, the unabashed and bubbly melodies function as the heart and soul of Sicko Mobb. The two rappers talk about things like partying, luxury and living life to its full potential in their lyrics (topics that populate much mainstream pop music). Sicko Mobb’s focus on uplifting, positive melodies, however, brings nuance to their voice. Songs like “Fiesta,” “Penny HardAway” and “House Party” are excellent demonstrations of this musical feature. In developing and refining this formula time and again, Sicko Mobb have distinguished themselves within an arguably saturated style of turn-up music.

Ceno and Trav formed in 2013. That same year, they gained notoriety with the release of the video for their song “Fiesta,” which now boasts close to four million views on YouTube and an official remix that features A$AP Ferg. Sicko Mobb now have a record deal with major label Polo Grounder/RCA, alongside artists like the A$AP Mob, Pitbull and Yung Joc. They released their third mix tape last spring — the aptly titled “Super Saiyan Vol 2,” referencing Dragon Ball Z. The 23-song mixtape received a 7.9/10 from and was included on their mid-year list of “Overlooked Releases” — high praise from one of the most pervasive voices in music journalism.

Sicko Mobb hails from the bop scene in west side Chicago, named for the dancing style of the same name. There is not just one way to bop, but bopping is essentially a stylized, full-bodied expression of the head nod. At its most basic level, it’s a fluid and playful style of dance that features quick, rhythmic steps and flailing, expressive arm movements. Yet bopping leaves boundless room for individual inflections of style and improvisation. Sicko Mobb defend bopping as a source of community building and positivity. It’s an ideal alternative to Chicago’s more aggressive drill scene. Sicko Mobb embody these beliefs in their endless supply of life-affirming, saccharine turn up anthems. Sicko Mobb will perform in Gardner Lounge at 9 p.m. this Saturday night with Martin $ky.

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