Ski Mask the Slump God first came to my attention due to the late Jahseh Onfroy b/k/a XXXTentacion. This “11th Dimension” review comes exactly six years to the day after Onfroy’s murder, and his death hangs over the Slump God’s head like a dark cloud. He can’t bring his friend back nor can any of the rest of us, but the inclusion of tracks like “Jah’s Interlude” shows that he’s never stopped thinking about him or paying tribute to him. Onfroy lived a colorful and often troubled life, but like his friend I feel his presence here, and I wonder what kind of man he would have become as he matured.

Unfortunately time passes on and the world keeps turning no matter how many friends and loved ones we lose. The best tribute Slump God (born Stokeley Clevon Goulbourne) can offer him is to continue doing what they both loved most — making music. It’s not surprising that Slump God needed an extended hiatus after Onfroy’s passing, but he’s finally ready to show us the “11th Dimension” of his career. Human beings are by nature three dimensional, and a theoretical fourth dimension beyond our perception is believed to be time. If you can move freely between physical space in 3D, a fourth dimensional traveler could move freely to any moment in history. To them it would simply be a room to walk across. What could even higher dimensions look like?

“Hulk” gives us an idea. It’s so dark I can barely put it into words, but with my limited three dimensional perception it appears to be straining to break free of the chains of the album cover. The bass rumbles across the landscape like thunder. Lasers shoot across the beat like an intergalactic war. While I associate the fifth dimension with the DC Universe, Slump God is more of a Marvel man, and the protagonist of his song famously warned people they wouldn’t like him when he gets angry.

“Know how I rock, like a cradle, no nursery
I catch an opp’ and I’ll paint his shirt burgundy
Let a nigga try me, I hearse him (hearse him)
Put him on a shirt, I merc’ him (say cheese)”

“Headrush” is as grounded as “Hulk” is extra-terrestrial. The track by Kai Goin Krazy, Haze & Zuus would make any heavy metal fan head bang. Slump adapts his style to whatever track comes his way without relying on pitch correcting to make his vocals fit. In the video to accompany the single he definitely parties like a rock star, walking around in his Bathing Ape fits through a pop culture museum he seemingly rented out for the day, high fiving an Iron Man statue as he goes (told you he was a Marvel guy). “I don’t give a fuck about you, fuck you and your man.” Spoken like the star he is. “Niggaz be stealing the source, I know it’s me they study.”

While Ski Mask the Slump God is a Floridian by birth and nature, he shows off his international interests and appeal with “Shibuya.” As one of the most famous areas of Tokyo, well known for its influence both regionally and globally on youth culture along with a vivid nightlife, it’s not surprising to see him whipping through it in flawless whips set to a Al B Smoov, Max Lord and Thank You Fizzle beat. “They think I’m 50 Cent” quips Slump God, flossing in a way I don’t think Curtis Jackson ever envisioned. Like so much of “11th Dimension” the song is incredibly grimy sounding, but Ski Mask brings a splash of bright neon color to the dark beats.

The album includes the level of cameos you’d expect for his first studio album in half a decade. Future appears on “Monsters Inc.,” the late Juice WRLD is on “Wake Up!,” and Corbin is on the closer “Go!” If you listen to the album sequentially they are spaced far enough apart to keep Slump God the focus, and they are also not numerous enough to make him appear to be a guest star on his own album. Too many artists make the mistake of thinking their shit won’t sell without featured appearances, but the confidence Ski Mask displays on the aptly named “By Myself” tells a different story. “I went ahead and crowned myself/because I won the belt myself.”

11th Dimension” is the first album I’ve heard in a while that feels like an evolution of rap music instead of a retread of already proven trends. The production may prove challenging to those steeped in the worlds of boom bap, G-funk, trap or drill. It draws inspiration from some of them but also manages to sound nothing like any of them for nearly the entire 48 minutes. The length too is impressive given how many of Slump God’s peers are happy to turn in less than a half hour and call it good for an album. I’d like to think if Jahseh was here he’d be proud of the creative risks his friend took. They work for me.

Ski Mask the Slump God :: 11th Dimension
7.5Overall Score