The sky’s the limit for Lil Skies. The 19-year-old rapper from Pennsylvania is rapidly making himself known this second half of 2017. He released his viral music video for his single “Red Roses,” which already racked up over 11 million views after two months. He’s received major cosigns from raps best including Lil Uzi Vert, who created our favorite song of 2017 and invited Skies to join his holiday “Very Uzi Christmas” tour.
Serving as a rising “Big Three” supergroup, Skies dropped the music video for “Nowaydays” featuring Landon Cube and directed by Cole Bennett. The three also worked on “Red Roses” together and have consistently put out cinematic gems that separates them from any new artist.
“Everything I do is meaningful,” Lil Skies tells us. “All my songs, you can hear that in my shit. It’s nothing fake. I feel like that’s how people relate to it, because we making real shit. When I create, I think about what other people think.”
2017 was huge for the “Red Rose” rapper, and there’s no signs of slowing down in the new year. Skies is gearing up for a new project Life of a Dark Rose due out in January, more music videos, and possibly his own tour. We sat down with Lil Skies to discuss the rappers that helped influenced his sound, his favorite tattoos, and what it’s like touring with Lil Uzi below.
Your dad was also a rapper name Skies. How big of an influence was he on you becoming a rapper?
My dad was a big influence because he did a lot of music. He was doing Hip-Hop at the time. I was just growing up around that shit, being around stuff like being around the Hip-Hop scene and the studio all the time. This stuff wasn’t natural for me, but it was something that I wanted to push myself and be as best as I can be. Regardless of my dad, that’s just what it did for me. He inspired me to want to be the best as far as an artist, myself. I seen how he was doing it, and then once I tried it, and I liked it, I was like, “Okay, this is what I’m going to do.”
Did he ever take you to any concerts or to the studio growing up?
I never really been to any concerts, even still to this day. He took me to the studio. That was our relationship. We just went to the studio. I didn’t really like seeing my dad the first couple years of my life, but when we did link up, he was on shit like that. He was basically just chasing his dream.
So, I would be in the studio sessions with him all the time, and I was really paying attention. I was in there, and for how young I was, it was like, “Damn, his interest in this shit is next level,” and he could just tell I loved it. So, it was like we gotta push him to be the best he can be.
What other rappers helped influence your sound?
I’d probably say as far as my performances, Travis Scott is one of my biggest ones. I just feel like me and him… I don’t want to say I have the same energy, but we do. When we go out on the stage and shit we like to fuck shit up, we like to turn up, we like to have fun. So Travis Scott is definitely a big inspiration. Lil Wayne was a big one. Lil Wayne, 50 Cent. Those were my two like big ones growing up.
Then I got into Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa phase. Now, I listen to so much of everybody. All different types of music. I try to open my ears to different sounds.
What was your initial reaction when Uzi reached out to bring you on the “Very Uzi Christmas” tour?
My initial reaction was that it’s lit. [Laughs] It’s a good opportunity for me definitely for sure, and that’s the type of crowd that I want to reach. I feel like me and Uzi have the same type of fans. It’s definitely a good match for sure.
What’s tour life like with Uzi so far?
It’s been fun, man. Yeah, it’s lit. It’s definitely a different experience, but I feel like we’re ready for it; we’re built for it. It’s fun. I love this shit. I just love music. I love performing too so that’s definitely awesome. I like entertainment. It’s not even just about the music. When I get on stage, it’s just fun. I’m good. I feel like I’m good with that. I can hype up a crowd. A big crowd or a little crowd, and that’s how I look at my performances. Even when I perform in front of ten people, I still give that energy as if I was performing in front of 3500. So, it’s never changed for me. I could perform anywhere. I’ma still go crazy.
You have a lot tattoos, what’s your most memorable one?
Most memorable one is the one I have from my friend, Shack, on my right arm. It was my first tattoo I got when I was 16. He got sick in the hospital and almost died and the last thing he said to me was, “Tomorrow is another day, but it’s not promised.” So I just got it tatted and it’s still one of my most memorable ones and most meaningful ones. For sure.
Waynesboro, Pennsylvania is a pretty small/rural town. What’s the rap scene like?
Yeah, we don’t have nothing. We don’t have a rap scene. We don’t have a fashion scene. We don’t have none of that shit. I’m definitely on back road shit for real. [Laughs] It’s a cool place though. We’d just sit and relax and focus. That’s why I love being back at home as far as working, because I’m not out here all in this crazy shit. I can just chill and focus on music.
How much of an impact has social media been for your career?
I use it as an outlet to just give my music to the world, and that was my outlet of getting out of this small town that I was in. I literally just use my social media for my music. That’s it. That’s all I want to and I want to make that clear to my fans too. It’s not a bad thing, because I’m not one of these dudes. I don’t be like people want me to post more and do all this, but I try to not live my life through the internet. I just try and focus on the music, but I know this is what I got to do. And I’m the type of person I don’t like to let my fans down like that.
You, Landon Cube, and Cole Bennett are a rising “Big Three” people shouldn’t sleep on. How did you all link up?
Landon shot a video with Cole before. When we writing the song “Red Roses,” I was like, “I got to get this song on the right platform. It can’t just be dropped anywhere. I got to get this to the world.” So I thought, “Yo, how can I get to Cole?” Landon gave me his number. We FaceTimed, he fucked with it, and then when we linked up. Cole is also more genuine and a more family oriented guy like me. The link up was definitely what did it, what made Cole even fuck with us more because he’s like, “Yo, these are some good ass kids.” And he liked our thought processes as far as videos. We’re trying to make movies. We’re not trying to just do anything like weird ass videos with people jumping around and this that. They’re like, “We want to make good ass videos.” And that’s what we all like. We really love this shit. I feel like me, Landon, and Cole are in this for the right reasons.
We really work well together. I feel like that’s what makes it so successful. You know, all of the behind the scenes shit is what makes everything and I feel like people see that with us. They know, the can tell we in it for the right reasons. We ain’t just about the money and all this other shit that comes with it.
What was your favorite part of shooting the “Nowadays” music video.
We shot with some crazy ass cameras. I don’t even know what kind of cameras they was, but Cole had … it’s crazy. I don’t even know how to explain it. They wasn’t no regular cameras, just put it that way. It was some big shit that you got, I don’t even know.
You gotta trust the process.
Yeah, bruh. I trust Cole. He definitely comes up with good treatments, but we all have input on our videos. We all have creative control like new ideas, new scenes. We always try to think outside the box.
What can fans expect next?
Definitely a music video, whole bunch of music videos. A lot of new music. I got a mixtape coming early January, “Life of a Dark Rose”. Hopefully a Lil Skies tour early 2018. I’m trying to do a overseas tour too.
Lastly, what’s yours favorite rap song of 2017?
Lucki’s “Fear of lust.” I like his music a lot. Just the type of music he makes. He’s from Chicago.
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- Photography: Bryan Luna / Highsnobiety