Pennsylvania rapper Lil Skies wears his influences on his sleeve and his motivation on his face in the Cole Bennett-directed, one-take video for the intro of his breakthrough album, Life Of A Dark Rose. “Welcome To The Rodeo” is the driving anthem that sets off the album, explaining who Skies is and running down his explosive come up, while putting any fears of mumble rapping to rest.
It’s clear that his style was at least partly inspired by Lil Wayne, which is likely why he and Bennett chose to shoot the video as a homage to Wayne’s video for “A Milli,” the Goliath jam that took Wayne from hot mixtape rapper to household name. Skies obviously wants that same gargantuan level of success, so it makes sense for him to walk in Weezy’s footsteps in more ways than one — although, he should probably avoid any business overtures from Birdman. In this case, that means a stroll through a studio backlot and multiple video concepts, complete with wardrobe changes, a pause for a makeup touch-up, and a caricature sitting, all while accompanied by a menacing bodyguard who smirks at the camera when Skies temporarily disappears to switch outfits.
Skies’ debut landed with all the force of a Godzilla footfall last autumn, when, without a massive radio push, Life Of A Dark Rose debuted on the Billboard 200 behind the strength of a dedicated fanbase that apparently goes hard for the tattooed youngster. At just 19 years old, Skies has the confidence and charisma of a 20-year veteran, which just might carry him to the lofty heights he aims to reach.