GOTHBOICLIQUE is a crew of rappers and producers making waves in hip-hop’s ever evolving offshoot of emo-inspired rap music. Beating at the centre of it all is the incomparable voice of Cold Hart.
Founded by the late Lil Peep, Wicca Phase Springs Eternal and Cold Hart, GOTHBOICLIQUE and its movement started gaining significant momentum following Peep’s accidental death in 2017, highlighting a nuanced and sensitive style of rap music that continues to evolve beyond the Soundcloud stratosphere.
The sound has developed from strained vocals and hip-hop samples into hazy, shoegaze guitar tones backed by simple drum beats and layered, grungy vocals.As one of its founding members, Cold Hart wants to continue growing with the genre mash he pioneered with his comrades, while remaining positive and honouring the movement Lil Peep left behind.
Witnessing a lot of the darkness drugs and addiction can bring, Cold Hart knows first hand what numbing the pain with drugs can do.“I wanted to stop encouraging that lifestyle after Peep died,” he says. “That really opened my eyes and made me want to make something different and send a different message.”
Following his most recent album, Good Morning Cruel World, Cold Hart is venturing beyond his roots as a depressed teenager from Long Beach by recording and performing with live instruments. After moving to New York with his producing partner YAWNS, he’s been able to breathe solid energy into his music.“I wanted it to feel more real,” says Cold Hart on moving from sampling to recording with live instruments. “It makes the performances more lit. When we’re performing and YAWNS is actually playing guitar, people go nuts for it. Sampling is easy but playing live music is hard. I want to try different things every time I make something new.”
Bringing in guitars has also allowed Cold Hart to focus on being more of a vocalist rather than just a rapper. With straining, whining, emotional, auto-tuned vocals, he shares a certain cadence with early 2000s emo singers. Although his music shares similar sounds with the genre, he rejects the themes and messages tied to it.“I think emo music is there to make kids feel numb,” he says. “I don’t want them to feel numb and I think it encourages that whack lifestyle of doing drugs all the time to feel something.”
Cold Hart sees what he’s doing as a blend of genres: alternative rock and hip-hop. If Blink-182 stripped down their production and filled it with 808s they could be members of GOTHBOICLIQUE. It’s not pop-punk, it’s not emo, but it’s sensitive and thoughtful. It’s also evolving fast and gaining popularity even faster. GOTHBOICLIQUE is riding a new wave straight into the mainstream.
This article originally appeared in the August 2019 edition of BeatRoute.