On Sing Me A Lullaby, My Sweet Temptation, $ucideboy$’ commitment to sobriety is a renewal of spirit and promise
The sun won’t stop shining on $uicideboy$. With the release of their 47th project, they couldn’t be more proud of how far they’ve come. Aristos “Ruby da Cherry” Petrou and Scott “$crim” Arceneaux Jr. have walked a long road since beginning $uicideboy$ in 2014. The two cousins cemented themselves as heroes of early SoundCloud and have grown well past the platform. Nearly a decade later, $uicideboy$ are booming, as Ruby and $crim spun their internet fame into a life of touring and fruitful independent artistry. That success is owed in no small part to their honest lyrics, creative sampling and nearly unparalleled output.
Despite their probable status as your favorite SoundCloud rapper’s favorite SoundCloud rappers, the two have caught plenty of flak over the years for the content of their music. Depression, anxiety, drug use and suicidal ideation are discussed frequently in their art and are commonly seen as the galvanizing forces that led to the creation of the group in the first place. There’s truth to that, but such a one-dimensional account denies the determination and hope that also resides in these two artists. Even their “make-it-big-or-end-it-all” mythos was born of an unwavering commitment; one that sought to ensure that every day would be one worth living to the fullest.
Ruby and $crim have never been strangers to hard work. “I grew up seeing my dad work his ass off six days a week from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., and then go coach soccer for two hours afterward,” Ruby says. $crim’s upbringing was much the same. His father worked at a shipyard in Louisiana seven days a week and still dedicated his off time to pursuing greater financial security. “I used to go with him when he worked side jobs in the free time he did have, working on cars. Dude coached my baseball teams and all that shit,” $crim adds.
Before starting $uicideboy$ in 2014, Ruby and $crim each attempted to find success in music separately. Ruby joined the band Vapo-Rats as their drummer, and $crim landed a job as an in-house producer for Universal/Republic, but something always managed to get in the way. Ruby’s bandmates didn’t have the same future-focused attitude as him, and $crim’s producing gig left him feeling taken advantage of. Their solution to these woes is firmly cemented in $uicideboy$' canon. They got together, made a pact to either succeed in music or kill themselves and became one of the most successful underground acts in recent memory; but the goal of contentment still lay just out of reach.
“You think getting these plays, doing these tours, getting this recognition and this validity and fame, this is all going to make me feel good, right? And then you get it. And lo and behold, I felt shittier than ever before,” $crim explains. Whether you find yourself listening to 2016’s I No Longer Fear the Razor Guarding My Heel (III) 2018’s I Want to Die In New Orleans, or almost any entry in the KILL YOURSELF continuum, you’ll find their material success hadn’t brought them much fulfillment. No matter how much money they amassed, the two were still laden with the same burdens they had been when they first started their career together. In recent years, the duo had begun the labor of casting off these emotional weights.
Ruby and $crim have been struggling with opiate addiction since their teens but have gotten clean in the last few years. After months of drug-induced psychosis, $crim committed to sobriety when he realized how much his habit was affecting his ability to relate to his cousin and team. “I was going to go to the grave before I ever got sober,” $crim says. “It takes a lot of work for me to stay sober. I was a real-deal drug addict, you know? And it wasn't just some little cute habit that I had to kick. I wish it was as easy as just waking up every day and making the choice. I'm involved in some 12-step programs that I do every day, and the people I trust to keep around me are a good support group.” In 2020, Ruby had a similar revelation after $crim and the team had an intervention for him. “I try to look at the good things that I do have in my life, and I realize through my addictions and through rehab that the majority of my problems stemmed from self-pity, feeling sorry for myself and thinking that I had it the worst in the world,” Ruby says.
After such a momentous change in the duo’s lives, it only makes sense that their new album, Sing Me A Lullaby, My Sweet Temptation, represents not only a musical change in direction but also a renewal of spirit and promise. “This album definitely is the most feel-good album out of anything that we've done,” Ruby explains. “We wanted to offer something different to the fans, to be honest and talk about some things that we're going through, but also talk about some solutions for that.” This album, like every $uicideboy$ release that preceded it, is a relatively raw look at the duo’s mental states. Projects come to resemble milestones in their journey reckoning with themselves, the world and any sense of dissatisfaction that might linger within. On Sing Me A Lullaby, My Sweet Temptation, Ruby and $crim are happier than they’ve ever been, thanks in no small part to the role they play in each other's lives.
2022 is $crim’s third-year substance-free, and October will mark Ruby’s second without using opiates. Both cousins are instrumental to the other’s sobriety, and this ethos of mutual inspiration permeates every aspect of the new project. “I think I pushed myself more on this album to get a little bit more personal, a little bit more real,” $crim says. His reinvigoration also lit a fire in Ruby. “In the past, when Scott was drugged up, especially when he was in his worst state, it was easy for me to top him because he wasn't even there to try,” Ruby says. “But now that he's focused and living this clean, good life, I had to come correct and really, really make sure that I was doing what I needed to do and saying what I needed to say to even keep up with that.”
Just as Ruby finishes thanking his cousin for forcing him to reach the next level of his craft, $crim responds with a similar expression of gratitude. Their relationship is intensely reciprocal, with one’s growth leading to equal development in the other. “I would say, in the past, I always felt defeated, so I wouldn't give it that much effort. It was Ruby [that] gave me that push — the whole pep talk. Like, ‘I know what you can do. I know what you're capable of. You can do a lot better than that.’ So I credit him for giving me that push to go deeper and to do better,” $crim responds.
Sing Me A Lullaby, My Sweet Temptation has also been an opportunity for Ruby and $crim to look back at and reconceptualize their original sound. “The old-school $uicideboy$ is littered with samples when it comes to making the beats. For this one, I feel like we really brought it back to that,” $crim says. As much as the two have progressed, the mentality that gave rise to their earliest projects almost a decade ago still exists inside of them. “There's a few songs where we go back to our roots, and it's a bit of the older style $uicideboy$, the darker kind of thing," Ruby says. "It was really exciting to see that we still could easily do that and it hasn't gone away because we've grown a lot over the last seven years that we've been doing this.”
Where the last few years have brought the pair opportunities for introspection and peace, the coming months represent a chance to reap the benefits of their self-examination. “I'm really looking forward to it [touring], and that's something crazy for me to say because I used to hate touring," $crim says. "We've always been opposites, where I enjoy being in the studio and making music, and Ruby enjoys touring.” Since founding the “hardcore-meets-hip-hop” tour Grey Day in 2019, the event has only grown, and 2022’s is the largest yet. This Grey Day is also novel in that it’s the first where $uicideboy$ will be without the artists signed to their label, G*59. “This is actually our first tour for Grey Day specifically that we don't have our GREY FIVE NINE team with us as far as the other artists go because this year we had them branch out and do their own tours to start growing on their own,” Ruby says. “It's going to be interesting, just me and Scott on this tour without our homies.”
Even after accomplishing so much, it’s been critical that $uicideboy$ reframe their thoughts on success, lest they be caught in the same trap of unhappiness they found themselves in when they first began. Personal wellness and improvement have become the driving forces in their lives, and those aspirations are serving Ruby and $crim more than dreams of wealth ever could. “I went from this almost industrial measurement of success to ‘How am I being my best self today?’ My idea of success nowadays is about growing more and more as a person: if I'm continuously growing and accomplishing things that I set out to do and attempting things that I don't think I can do, and then succeeding or failing,” Ruby says. $crim responded in kind, saying, “I measure success by my peace and being reasonably happy, and what I mean by that is exactly what Ruby said. For so long I've looked for things outside of me to make my insides feel good, and the drugs helped with that until they didn't.”
“I don't measure success by things outside of me, by the things I have," he continues. "I'm grateful for it, and I don't take it for granted. But ultimately, success for me is just like, 'Dude, how much peace do I have? How much serenity do I have? How content am I with life?'”
More than anything, though, $crim and Ruby are thankful for their relationship with one another. “Being an addict and shit, I have a natural tendency to drift towards what I'm not grateful for. So that's an active practice for me. I'm going over what I'm grateful for every day,” $crim says. “And I'm just grateful to be alive. I'm grateful for my relationship with my cousin to be where it's at. It's been a long time since it's been like this, and it's fucking awesome.” His cousin echoed this sentiment shortly thereafter. “I would say I'm grateful for life, man. Today, I just woke up and said, ‘I'm going to crush it today.’ I felt the urge to call my cousin and share with him my thoughts on this album, all that he contributed to it and how awesome I thought it was,” Ruby says. “I've been looking at everything that's going for us and at all the bullshit that we deal with on a daily basis, whether it's personal stuff or family stuff, [and] none of that means anything when we focus on what we've accomplished and what life has and granted us.”
$uicideboy$ began with a promise that remains to this day. Whatever comes their way, $crim and Ruby are prepared to face it down. Besides, they’ve probably been through worse. The two have walked through their own personal infernos and came out scorched but whole. There’s no doubt: That journey was made easier by the support they provide to one another. “If all I'm put here to do is to make my cousin the best version of himself that he can be, I'm happy with that. There's no ego struggle and I believe he feels the same way,” $crim says. “ It’s no surprise — Ruby couldn’t agree more.