If you’ve attended just one Ski Mask the Slump God show, you're familiar with how they all usually play out. You must prepare yourself to absolutely rage. There are mosh pits — lots of them — and by the end of the night, you will have lost some ability to hear owing to the bass-boosted beats and aggressive screams pumping through deafeningly loud speakers.
If you haven’t been to a Ski Mask show, now is your chance to let loose, dive into that pit, and witness some prodigious talent. Ski is set to return home to South Florida when his Stokeley Tour hits the Fillmore Miami Beach this Wednesday, December 11.
The first anniversary of Ski Mask’s debut album, Stokeley, was November 30, and it has a deeper meaning than just a numerical achievement. The year leading up to the release of Stokeley was a hectic and heavy one for the Broward County rapper because he was forced to leap physical and emotional hurdles.
In March 2018, Ski seemed to face heart-related health issues. On Twitter, he asked fans for prayers and even shared that he would need surgery. Then, in April, he encountered difficulties with his mixtape, Beware the Book of Eli. It had been set to drop May 4, but after continued postponements due to his management team, Ski grew frustrated and leaked it April 30. The move prompted even further management drama, and the leaked mixtape was quickly removed. After Ski Mask fired his management team, Beware the Book of Eli officially dropped May 11.
Not even a month later, on June 18, his best friend and frequent collaborator, Plantation rapper XXXTentacion, was gunned down in Deerfield Beach. The two Broward artists had struck up an unlikely friendship in a juvenile detention center and decided to create music together. The pair worked on countless projects, including founding the hip-hop collective Members Only and collaborating with the clothing brand Revenge on exclusive designs.
While Ski Mask mourned his friend's death, he played an important part in the organization of many of X’s posthumous album-release parties and memorials. It seemed like it would be quite a while before Ski's fans would hear new music, but November 30, 2018, Stokeley arrived. His impressive first studio album debuted at number six on the Billboard U.S. 200 chart, rewarding Ski with his first Top 10. He even cracked the Billboard Hot 100 with three songs from Stokeley: “Foot Fungus,” “Faucet Failure,” and “Nuketown,” featuring the late Chicago rapper Juice Wrld.
Ski’s tour has already landed in cities all over North America, from New York to Vancouver to Los Angeles. He’s no stranger to being on the road — in the past, he followed Desiigner, Members Only, and XXXTentacion on their respective tours — but this tour is his first headlining feat. It’s a massive achievement for the Lauderhill rapper, who began his music career in 2015 and became known when his single “Catch Me Outside” went viral two years later in 2017.
Accompanying Ski on his tour are some familiar names: Pouya, DJ Scheme, Danny Towers, and Pop Smoke. Pop Smoke, the Brooklyn rapper known for his hit “Welcome to the Party,” has joined Ski on select nights. Notably, the rest of the artists are all from Florida. DJ Scheme is a music curator who has provided sonic accompaniment for Ski and X from the beginning. Recently, he earned the honor of DJ'ing for XXL’s 2019 Freshman cypher. Pouya, a rapper from Miami, has been part of the underground SoundCloud rap scene for a long time. Orlando rapper Danny Towers hails from farther north in the Sunshine State but has collaborated with Ski Mask on Beware the Book of Eli and on DJ Scheme’s Preseason EP.
With such vibrant talents complementing Ski onstage for his return to his home state, the show is certain to go out with a bang. So far, tour stops have been treated to visuals from horror movies such as Friday the 13th Part III (the rapper has referred to himself as “the new Jason Voorhees”) and a tribute set to XXXTentacion featuring some of Ski and X's cherished collabs, including “Take a Step Back” and “Off the Wall!”
Ski is continuing to garner acknowledgment and accolades for his witty, playful lyrics and his spirited, try-to-keep-up flow, and it’s well deserved. He’s one of the most visible rappers to come out of Broward County, and he and his fans can celebrate his success where it all began: right here in South Florida.
Ski Mask the Slump God. With Pouya, DJ Scheme, and Danny Towers. 8 p.m. Wednesday, December 11, at the Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; fillmoremb.com. Tickets cost $40.50 to $85 via livenation.com.