[MAGAZINE] DIVINE COUNCIL
With two mixtapes under their belt, ‘Divine Council’ and ‘DB$B’, the group are on track for a bright future. With his quick-wit humour and double-time flow, $ilkmoney was nominated by XXL for their Freshmen 10th Spot and it won’t be long before the whole Council is up…
There hasn’t been a group like Divine Council in a long time. Wait… scrap that, there has never been a group like Divine Council. The Virginia based foursome burst on the scene via a string of music videos, each as wildly unique as the last one. Part D4L, part Goodie Mob, they have just enough Internet-pop culture appeal for the Illroots crowd and just enough raucous wordplay to attract the “old heads.”
The quartet are the latest rap crew to change the landscape of rap, courtesy of the sub genre they’ve created, naming it “Audio Pastel.” Their inspirations are wide reaching, their co-signs are dipped in gold and their lyrics are just funny enough for you to forget that you’re offended. Don’t know what I’m talking about? You might after you listen to $ilkmoney rap an entire song about mistreating your bitch, while referencing The Lion King – it’s called ‘Decemba’ by the way.
Like many early fans of the group, I first came across Cyrax!, (call him the smooth one with the upbeat flow) when London producer, JD. Reid, showed me his ‘I Like’ video back in 2015. At the time, the track, and Cyrax himself, seemed like another strong contender in the rising Trap scene. But the more I explored the group, I realised that these guys had more to offer. Listening to the way they blend the vocals and beats on songs like ‘Candid’, was reminiscent of the Cloud Rap era. The beats are usually produced by ICYTWAT, the only non-Virginia resident of the group. Based in Chicago, he’s the man responsible with crafting Divine Council’s solid sonic aura.
Their references are wide-ranging, from sampling Dave Chappelle skits on their hooks to abstract cartoon references. The most epic of which, ‘P. Sherman’, has a chorus made up entirely of the Sydney address that Nemo is eventually discovered at in Finding Nemo. Mind literally blown. For weeks I told anyone that would listen, marvelling at the genius, only to be asked how I could remember the address… like I’m the weird one?
But yeah, onto those gold-dipped co-signs… back in 2015, Erykah Badu tweeted, “I’m into #divinecouncil.” That moment was emotional enough, but then came the dream endorsement, a collaboration with Andre3000, when he remixed ‘Decemba’. He also directed the video for the remix, a cinematic love story ending with a shoot out. And before the group signed with L.A. Reid, Andre called in to express his support.
$ilkmoney’s romantic side, contrasts beautifully with his humour. The video for his solo effort, ‘Dick In The Dope’ is two minutes of visual perfection as he falls asleep while smoking a blunt, only to wake up and discover that his weed is gone. Seconds later he discovers a feminine bag of weed cooking him breakfast. They continue to act out a brief love affair, which ends with him passing the marijuana love of his life to the crew.
Their energy is insane. At the group’s London show in September 2017, two people shed blood before 9.30pm – I know because I was one of them. A bottle of water was thrown across the crowd during their first three minutes on stage. Our conversation kicks off on a surprising note as the group begin speaking highly of British food, which is often-trashed by touring musicians. Not this time…
$ilk Money: [London] had some of the best food of the whole tour, I had a lot of bad food all over Europe. London I found an excellent spot with the chicken burger, wings and the fries. That was lit as hell.
Viper: I’m glad you’re speaking good about London food because everyone says how bad it is.
$: Nah I fuck with that shit! It remind me of the shit over [in the US]. You go to the corner store or see shit and they cook you a sandwich or some wings right quick. That shit dead remind me of some shit back home.
V: What’s the worst food you had in Europe?
$: What was that place, they put the marina sauce on my burger. Copenhagen? Copenhagen. Copenhagen wild the fuck out. I got a burger and they put marinara sauce on the burger and it ruined the whole burger. It was disgusting, I almost threw up. I called the restaurant, they didn’t even answer. I left on the answer machine, “Yo suck my dick. Don’t be putting marinara sauce on the burgers.” That burger was expensive as shit. It was disgusting.
V: What’s it like being able to tour so many countries in Europe so soon?
$: I never thought we’d do some shit like that. People don’t see that shit at all in their life and to be able to do it at such a fast pace and see it all at once, it’s exciting as hell. I forgot which place had the worst weed, Aarhus? Them motherfuckers had some rat poison weed. They gave us a bag of weed and that shit looked like some green tea. They thought we was about to smoke it but there were so many seeds in it, I was like, “Hell nah!” The fucking promoter said the city’s known for rat poison weed.
V: Casually, like, “By the way, there’s some rat poison weed?”
$: Yeah! Very casually, “home of the rat poison.” I was like, “What the fuck is this?” When we first got there, Taylor the DJ looked up, ‘How do you get weed in Aarhus’? It said, ‘Ask a Somalian guy’. I was like, I’m not gonna do that shit. That was crazy, they had the worst weed situation ever.
V: What’s the wildest shit that’s happened to you on tour so far?
$: Paris? This is a long story but, me, Cyrax! and Taylor, T-Gut the DJ… I had this $1000 Supreme gift card that Andre had given me earlier this year and I was like, I’m gonna go to the Supreme store in Paris.” They’re having a Supreme drop that day – we didn’t even wait the line, we just cut in line, walked up there. I go to use [the card] and the guy’s like, ‘you can’t use it, because it’s in American money and you need euros. So I didn’t get anything from Supreme because apparently the gift card is in American. So I’m across the street, I’m not even on Supreme’s property anymore, we’re across the street shopping at another store. I don’t want nothing so I’m waiting outside with Cyrax! As I’m waiting outside, some old white lady comes up to us and says, “Do you now anywhere I can get a good beer?” We’re like, “Nah” and this old lady says to us, “well maybe your parents know where to get a good beer from [laughs].” I was like, ‘what the fuck was that?’ I’m confused. I was like, “Bitch, I’m 21 years old.” She’s like, “Hey, it didn’t have to get like that, you didn’t have to call me that.” I was like, “Can you just leave me alone?” She’s like, “No I’m talking to you.” I was like, “Stop talking to me. Can you please just leave us alone?” She was like, “Noooooo, we’re human! We’re supposed to talk to people!” I was like, “Bitch leave me the fuck alone! Why the fuck are you bothering me? Take your raggedy ass down the block, find you a dick to suck or a beer to drink.” She’s still standing there so I said it one more time and she finally leaves. Then all of a sudden – this is where it gets wild – the Supreme security guards that were guarding the line came over to us and said, “You guys have to get out of here.” The guy’s speaking straight French and I’m like, “I don’t speak that shit my nigga. Get out of my face, stop speaking that shit in my face.” He’s getting mad, he’s pointing at me, touching me, poking my chest, all this shit. They talking about, “Get off the block,” we called an Uber so we’re about to get the fuck up out of there. He’s talking about “Get off the block,” my nigga if I get off the block, my Uber’s not gonna know where I’m at! I’m not even on your property so I’m not going anywhere. Then I said, “You niggas is pussy!” They like, “Ooooohhh,” they mad now. They knew what that shit meant so now they’re mad. I turn and look to my right and see the security guards and I figure, as soon as I turn around to get in this Uber, y’all gone whoop my ass, that’s what’s gon’ happen. I didn’t say that out loud but that’s what I perceived in my mind. So as soon as the Uber showed up, I rocked the fuck out of the short nigga. I punched him in his nose four times. The other security guard, like a fucking bitch, grabs my hair. and starts pulling my hair. I just shook off that nigga and rocked him in the face and I stepped back. This nigga Cyrax! boxing these niggas up. I got my nigga T [Gut] boxing these niggas up. So it’s a brawl now. It’s three on three. We’re fucking these niggas up, and then four big ass white niggas came out of Supreme in security jackets, so we’re like, “we need to get the fuck out of here.” I’m fighting and as soon as I come to that realisation, I get punched in my nose. So we start walking down the block and they’re sort chasing us, shouting at us in French and all that. They was just fucking wild. We get all the way down the block, I just knocked on the window of the taxi and I’m like, “You ready to go?” We just hopped in that motherfucker and went to the hotel.
V: Anything you wanna add?
$: I love you. Put that in there.
V: I love you more. I miss you
$: I miss you more.
V: Come back to London and chill.
$: Yeah, London and Amsterdam. In order it was London, Amsterdam, Berlin; top three. But yeah, add that in there, that we love you.
And Viper love them right back.
Words by Lily Mercer
Photos by The Naturalist