Ski Mask The Slump God is one of the biggest names in rap right now and his first drop of 2020, “Burn The Hoods,” doesn’t dare to disappoint.
Opening with a haunting and tinny instrumental beginning, similar in sound to Aminé’s “RATCHET SATURN GIRL,” the track leaves little room to take pause. “Kio, Kio” is heard, a mark of the track’s producer YoungKio (who produced Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” and other hits).
After a quick breath, Ski Mask The Slump God launches into the first verse, “If you f**k with me, he pushin’ pedals,” a pun of the word petals (pushing up flower petals and pushing pedals in a car), “Six feet under is his new level/I am considered a rebel ’cause I never settle.” The term rebel could also be a jab at or reclamation of the use of the term “Southern Rebels” often used when defending or discussing secessionists during the Civil War. Frederick Douglass wrote about this in 1826, saying, “REBELS and TRAITORS are epithets too good for such monsters of perfidy and ingratitude.”
Ski Mask The Slump God continues, “Ah, pshht,” he makes a breathy noise like a quick “pew pew” noise or the steam from a teapot, “’cause I’m hot like a kettle…And they act funny, Jay Leno/Twisted my metal, now they actin’ shaky like treble…” His biting and skilled wordplay keeps the track moving rapidly, packed full of quality lines.
The cadence of the song shifts in the chorus, as The Slump God’s voice takes on a more teasing tone, “It’s up like ice in a cup.” This is a potential reference to the government agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement – ICE, which has been highly weaponized by the Trump administration, becoming synonymous with the terrorizing of immigrant communities, particularly by the Removal Operations (ERO) agency. His voice still moving with great speed, The Slump God continues, “F**k, my president, Donald Trump.” This line has a bit of a double entendre, as The Slump God could be saying the statement as though he is bewildered by remembering that his president is Donald Trump, or he could be saying the line directed at Donald Trump.
The highly political meaning of the song doesn’t cease, as The Slump God continues to weave in topics like police brutality and systemic oppression. Never losing the sharp humor of the single, he says, “Like Big Time Rush, we four deep in the Jeep seats made out of crocodile…” This is a reference to the hit early 2010s boy band, Big Time Rush, composed of four members (who were actually featured riding in Jeeps in their music videos).
Masterful lyricism comes to play, still full of pop culture nods, “In God we trust, Starsky, Hutch (Hutch)/Seein’ police, then…gotta duck.” The term “In God We Trust” is the official motto of the United States. The second phrase references the hit television show “Starsky & Hutch,” which followed two police offers. The ducking portion of the line refers to the way police violence impacts the lives of Black Americans. Connecting the three lyrics is a reference to his view that the United States and policing are tied together, with deadly implications for the Black community.
The pop culture references continue as The Slump God sounds as though he’s greatly enjoying himself, his rapping gaining even more speed, “Scooby Doo…But I’m a mystery, I left a Blue’s Clue…Captain Sparrow black boots…Got a sweet tooth, Augustus Gloop…Wood, no Groot…Inspector Gadget-style trench coat…Ratatouille how I’m cookin’ with the sauce.” Slump God speaks so quickly that once could potentially miss the calls to “Scooby-Doo,” “Blue’s Clues,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Inspector Gadget“and “Ratatouille.” These jokes allow The Slump God to take a semi-playful approach to the situation and song.
Before repeating the chorus to conclude the song, The Slump God slips in two more jokes, “Hit the motherfu**er with the rope-a-dope,” the “rope-a-dope” being a boxing technique famously associated with Muhammad Ali. He continues, “My wrist on ice-atope.” This could reference one putting an ice on a wrist after fighting (rope-a-dope), or being iced out/icy, meaning one wearing quality jewelry. This is also a pun on the word isotope. The repetition of the lyrics creates an even further hectic element to the song, as The Slump God moves incredibly quickly through the verse.
Background trap beats are layered over the haunting instrumentals, which are worthy of a horror film chase scene. This background noise lends itself to the visuals (directed by music video master, Lyrical Lemonade’s Cole Bennett) that were also dropped with the song. The video features Ski Mask The Slump God fighting hooded members of the hate group, the Klu Klux Klan (KKK), hence the name “Burn The Hoods.” Adding to the long list of plays on words on the track, “Burn The Hoods,” takes the way the KKK burns crosses and torches, and turns it back on them.
“Burn The Hoods” is Ski Mask The Slump God’s fiery and spitting return to the music world, packed with a blend of rapidly moving teasing and serious tones. Holding nothing back lyrically or politically, Ski Mask The Slump God reminds listeners why he’s known for his untouchable and unique style.