Milkavelli: The Originator of SWɛG
You say swag - but to Milkavelli - it’s “SWɛG”. Sure, his name might not be what you expect but come on, this is rap music, of course he’s going to be ridiculous. He’s held several others equally strange titles; from Monster Under The Bed (Children of the Damned), to Don Silk (Piff Gang), and to finally, Milkavelli of the group Cult Mountain. So, there is a chance, especially if your from the UK, you’re already a fan of him. Perhaps you didn’t even realize it!
I couldn’t find much about Children of the Damned, but apparently were active around the mid 2000’s but you’ve almost certainly heard of Piff Gang. In some sense, they are the UK version of Wu-Tang. With over 10 guys in the group, they fundamentally changed the game in London, bringing over influence from the US and putting their own take on it - turning it into something entirely different. Milkavelli, then Don Silk, was an influential member. They’ve got “sweg” on another level and despite their fashionable outfits and penchant for the high life, these artists have the lyrics, flow and talent to back it up. So, don’t confuse them or Milkavelli for a cliche “trap” artist.
During 2012, American artists such as A$AP Rocky, Tyler The Creator and others took over the mainstream with their off-brand flashy lyrics and demonic vibes, dramatically shifting the culture culture from “frat rap” to what became known as “Swag rap”. However, these American artists, referred to as the leaders in “swag rap”, drew their influence from a prior wave of Houston artists such as Three 6 Mafia and Floridian artist such as SpaceGhostPurrp. At it’s core, rap music is all about this collaborative process.
But once “swag rap” music reached the UK, the “swag” movement took on a new and unexpected twist. As Milkavelli says, the music coming out of the UK began to draw influence from the US. It had become “SWEG”.
However as “swag rap” (for a lack of a better term) continued to force it’s way into American mainstream music, the artists behind the sound did not forget about their UK counterparts. In fact, many artists such as A$AP Rocky and Lil Peep relished the opportunity to connect with Milkavelli and others which has led to plenty of startling photo-ops.
Despite the lack of coverage on Milk, (I could only find a few articles on him), he has managed to carve out a unique space for himself in the scene, toeing the line between grime, hip-hop and alternative rock. But don’t confuse him for a newbie. With over half a decade of experience in the scene, Milkavelli is no rookie.
Through the course of his career, Milkavelli has been apart of three UK based groups, each time changing his alias, undergoing a transformation and tweaking his style while retaining his iconic aura and personality. Everything about him radiates the spirit of our modern culture, from checking in with the skateboard community to touching the music world, his vibes and life reflects that of a contemporary renaissance man except for his affection for codeine and pain pills.
His style of delivery is smooth and cool, unlike plenty of musicians these days, he doesn’t need to yell to get your attention. In UK fashion, his rhymes are equipped with densely packed syllables, a flair for self-deprecation and various obscure drug references.
While the world was gawking at America’s superstars, the UK has been enjoying it’s own success, putting UK culture on par with America and showing the world that the British can be proud of their own culture.
The man has made a living off his debauchery. The guy has quite the artistic ear and persona. But he’s onto something. His name, Milkavelli, is a twist on Tupac’s Makavelli pseudonym, the “milk” aspect an ode to both his skin color and his love for narcotics. Unlike his American counterparts, Milkavelli has kept his commitment to delivering his lyrics with a slow methodical flow, reminiscent of the nineties, without sacrificing the interesting aspects of his music. His sound reminds me of the beast coast movement of 2014/2015 if Joey and the Flatbush Zombies continued to innovate.
He can move between grime, hip-hop and even hop on songs with Lil Peep, and even most recently appearing on SMOKEASAC’s recent album, each time intriguing us more, similar to how Riff Raff took the scene by storm, posing for lewd photographs with groupies capturing out attention with each public appearance.
It’s typically difficult for musicians outside of the US to gain a solid footing in the scene. But while he doesn’t necessarily have a traditional “hit song”, he doesn’t need one. With over a hundred thousand views on the songs he has released on SoundCloud it’s clear Milkavelli has cultivated his own cult and niche in the music industry.