- Words By | Alicia Jackson
- Pen Name | Yori
- Twitter | @AnAmazingFeat
- “Never Let Go”
- “Falling Star” (featuring XV)
- “Elevator Music” (featuring Phil Ade)
Twenty-three year old Connecticut emcee Sikai opens up 2013 with the incredibly personal, incredibly scripted mixtape, Painkilling: 1500mg. In 2011, Sikai tapped into the hellish memories of his 2009 car accident and subsequent addiction to painkillers in his release of Painkillers and Energy Drinks. Tragedy struck again in late 2011 and Sikai was involved in another car accident. His addiction to painkillers took Sikai into a descent that only Hip-Hop could raise him from. Now, in 2013, he travels down the river Styx again in order to heal himself while creating a truly genuine work of audio art. Helping him to pay the ferryman, XV, Phil Ade and Dublin tell the tales of his journey.
Sikai’s flow is characterized by a mixture of rapid fire punchlines with an almost spoken word-esque delivery (think Wale). These traits, as well as the guitar/drum heavy beats that brand Sikai’s music open the mixtape on “Never Let Go”. The beat is intricate; the guitar chords and snare riffs should overpower any voice but Sikai’s fierce flow creates the illusion that the instruments are following him. Erratic changes in emotions are felt as you fall deeper into the tracklist. “Falling Star” leaves behind the heavy guitar feel of the earlier tracks in lieu of a piano melody and the almost sickening sweet Cosmic Love sample from Florence + The Machine. XV’s free-flowing delivery style adds contrast to Sikai’s more staccato rhyme scheme and in doing so creates another level of depth. Phil Ade helps flip a basic elevator track in “Elevator Music” to produce a more relaxed soundscape.
Skits and the “Painkillers” tag break up the flow of the mixtape and – in some instances – work against the established vibe. In the occurrences where the uses of these 10 to 12 seconds are used expertly, the sequencing of the mixtape is more understood. Any type of addiction is frequented by random changes in mood and mental awareness and where these reprieves from rapping apply, they are used to amplify the content of the succeeding track.
Painkilling 1500mg is a comprehensive voyage through the mind of an addict. Sikai displays an honesty that most people reserve for album releases. The emotional mosaic includes bits of happiness, fear, self-loathing, and depression. Sikai’s first person perspective allows sympathy for his struggles without forcing empathy onto the listener. He is not asking you to feel his pain; he only wishes for you to merely understand it. That sense of heightened awareness will harness anybody’s loyalty to his progression as an artist.