Let’s get it on…?
From all reports, many millennials sure aren’t – or at least not in the same vein as preceding generations. The era of Netflix and chill (or, perhaps more accurately, Netflix and are your chins still watching?) has left the youth’s zeitgeist coded with a broken-down love language. But, perhaps love isn’t sputtering out as much as it’s changing form. Insecurities are not masked behind conformity, but rather, cryptic memes describing solitary deaths by drowning in laundry sauce. Gucci Mane tried to assert, “a man without sauce is lost, but the same man can also be lost in the sauce” – yet many failed to heed his warning.
Miraculously, there is one young man who has managed to strike a balance between sink and swim—singer, songwriter, and Soundcloud sensation, Corbin. Depending on which clickholes you tend to fall down on YouTube 3:00 AM, you may also know him by his alter ego Spooky Black or through his hip-hop crew thestand4rd. As a part of CVLT Nation’s effort to shed light on underground rap and R&B’s darker peripheries, we are pleased to take your hand and leading you to the black silk sheets of the Millennial Marvin Gaye.
In a time when an artist can earn millions of YouTube views while simultaneously lurking in the shadows, Corbin has remained one of the more slept-on internet entities while continuing to break down age boundaries a la Lil Pump. Entering the scene in 2014 at just 16, Spook blew up the early era of Sad Boy with a smooth voice that didn’t seem to quite match its angst-ridden vocal box. Early videos, for example, depict his skinny frame shambling like Slenderman around the fields and streams of Saint Paul, MN. Cooling down the simmering bleakness with iconic aesthetic choices — including, but not limited to, a gold chain-turtleneck one-two punch and a crisp Vaseline logo white tee — Corbin communicates an intimate experience laden with contradictions to unpack.
Dropping off the radar again since his North American tour last fall, Corbin has demonstrated mastery of remaining a man of mystery in the face of continued success. Cryptic epic Mourn (2017) was released under his given name with little fanfare but received with high regard. The blog circuit immediately co-signed the full-length, as did the core of young women in the comments section applauding his dedication to making music in accordance with their interpretations of Sad Girl sensuality. Somber synths and heartfelt belts, the album makes for a seamless experience in which you can quietly wade. The lumbering beats coordinate with the rhythm of hips swinging on poles of all kinds, all while vocals — more of a nod to colleague Wicca Phase Springs Eternal than the smooth crooners of the Lil Spook days — apply a smart artiness to 40 minutes in heaven.
Like your secret admirer casually slipping collaborations with the likes of Bones and Bobby raps into your valentine bag, Corbin has all types of kernels to drop and pop before falling back into the cracks. There is the sarcastic and self-aware Spook hiding his hurt under the safety of the do-rag, but there is sober kindness in his heart and a sea of raw vocal talent in his lungs — both worn blatantly on the sleeve of his turtleneck. There is an implicit genuineness preserved in utilizing user-generated platforms to disseminate music, which has ultimately graced us with Corbin’s ability to do you in the purest sense. By applying the death-longing of meta memes to the death-like feeling love has evoked over the course of human history, Spook has concocted the perfect recipe for viralability.