If you ask Reddit users, the $uicideboy$ are dead. The tall tale goes as following: The original New Orleans duo died in a fiery car crash at the start of 2016 and the two cousins that fans see on the road and hear on their most recent records are clones, composed of DNA pooled together by the original pair’s fathers. While lounging in their hotel room before a show in Richmond, Virginia, Ruby da Cherry and $crim confirm with Billboard that internet myth is correct.
“That is true,” Ruby says of the theory matter of factly. “I’ve seen that theory and the one thing I will say is that it is true.”
“That’s the one thing the fans figured out,” $crim adds.
Sarcasm or not, to explore $uicideboy$ lore is a mission within itself, plummeting down a never-ending rabbit hole, filled with a plethora of conspiracy theories and alter-egos, many of which the duo can’t keep track of. There’s Yung Plague, 7th Ward Dragon, Lil Oozing, Princess Mononoke the Frozen Shogun, Northside Shorty, Charles Lee Ray, and so many more that burden fans and skeptics alike. While some of the mythology may be quite detached from reality, superstitions have remained a key part of what’s kept the $uicideboy$ movement feeling so fresh after nearly a decade of making music together — and for the most part, Ruby and $crim just sit back and watch the fables unfold.
“There was a pattern to it, but at some point, we sort of lost control of it,” Ruby admits. “I think it’s good to let the fans have a say so in the lore and the fandom. You know Dragonball GT was created entirely by fans, and I think that’s so cool because they are a part of it whether you like it or not. If the fans come up with something we totally disagree with then we’ll say something, but we don’t like telling them what it is. It’s what keeps it mysterious.”
The story all starts with cousins Scott Arceneaux JR. and Aristos Petro, who began recording as Ruby and $crim back in 2013. Bound by a suicide pact, the pair promised each other that if their joint venture as $uicideboy$ didn’t come to fruition, they’d kill themselves. To say things worked out for the two rappers would be an understatement: Fueled by the southern horrorcore of Three 6 Mafia and Gravediggaz, their sinister minimalism found a niche following in SoundCloud’s early days. The duo’s work ethic was also ferocious, as they furiously cranked out mixtapes. This rugged release schedule, combined with lyrics surrounding drug abuse, depression and violence, entrenched $uicideboy$ as anti-establishment punk rockers. Fans (and even their parents) have since written to them in droves, crediting the duo with bringing loved ones back from the brink. In one e-mail I read, a mother said her “connection as mother and son had been made stronger” because of $uicideboy$.
But the struggles dictated in Ruby and $crim’s music were very real. Between 2020 and 2021, the pair got sober and underwent therapy, returning this year with Sing Me a Lullaby, My Sweet Temptation, technically their 47th project. The album is by far the gentlest $uicideboy$ have ever made. Songs like “Genesis,” “Matte Black” and “In Constant Sorrow” toy with twinkling dusty backdrops, and don’t shatter speakers as much as thump with intention. All the while, Ruby and $crim rap reflective bars about relationships and recovery and contemplate the pitfalls that come with having established mythology based on suicide and addiction. It’s a notable sonic departure from their previous album, 2021’s Long Term Effects of SUFFERING, which the duo said was intentional.
“We were having a bit of an identity crisis,” Ruby says. “We were getting tired of people saying that they liked the old $uicideboy$ better and all this bulls–t. So we made this chaotic f–king album that kinda showcased every style that we possibly could come up with. Whether it be auto-tuned singing s–t or nightmare sounding whatever, we just wanted to be able to offer the fans everything in one album that we had offered them prior.”
Sing Me a Lullaby, Ruby says, “wrote itself” — and was partially inspired by a comment Ruby read that said the $uicideboy$ never offered any solutions to their depression. “We wanted to just display a light at the end of the tunnel,” Ruby explains.
“It’s kinda like a paradox,” $crim chimes in. “From a personal level, I think for a while I had been really holding back. That identity crisis kinda comes with getting sober, but add our career on top of it I didn’t really know what the f–k was going on. I just had a different fire under my ass. I felt like lyrically I had something to prove that I had been lacking on.”
And the newfound energy has resonated with fans, especially while on their Grey Day Tour, which includes support from Ski Mask The Slump God, $not, JPEGMafia, Maxo Kream and more. The 40-date arena and amphitheater has proven to be a safe haven for the duo and fans as well. According to Billboard Boxscore, in the last year, they sold 14,893 tickets over two nights at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and grossed $781,000 while selling out Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco with $588,000 grossed.
Below, the duo speaks to Billboard about Sing Me a Lullaby, their indestructible bond, family trauma and more.
Tell me more about the sampling on Sing Me a Lullaby. There are ad-libs from Freddy Krueger, The Notorious B.I.G., Jackie Brown, the HBO show OZ, and so many more pop culture sources — but you also include personal phone calls from your grandma and therapist, which you guys have never done before.
Ruby: The main connection between Scott and I is that we’re cousins. We’re related through our grandmother, ‘cause our moms are sisters. So we kinda wanted to show some love to that connection to show that before $uicideboy$, before any of this, Scott and I are family.
$crim: I think the fact that we have been family has kept us from giving up on each other. If I see myself with anyone else in any of the types of situations I’ve encountered, I don’t know if it ends up the same, but the fact that we’re first cousins and share those bonds carried us a lot.
How has your communication both as a family and a duo changed over the years?
Ruby: It’s f–king improved like crazy. Before we would triangulate our issues with each other and tell everybody else except each other.
$crim: A big thing that helped was that we ended up sharing the same therapist at rehab. Me and Ruby essentially did marriage counseling. It’s funny, but it f–king worked. We did it enough to where I’ll say she really helped us learn how to communicate with each other and I don’t think me or him had any idea how to do that. it’s kinda complicated because it’s a mix of resentments along with love for one another and not wanting to hurt one another with a confrontation. She was a really, really, really big help in those sessions.
Ruby: It taught us not only how to talk to each other but how to listen to each other as well.
There was a lyric on “Eulogy” that says “only speak my heart when my message comes out slurred.” Now that you guys are sober and learning this communication, have you been able to use these new tools with other members of your family?
$crim: It’s complicated.
Ruby: It’s definitely still a struggle, that’s for sure. It’s not something that you kinda learn and then be like, “OK! Now I know how to communicate with people!” With everybody it’s different. My main priority is making sure communication between Scott and I is open, clear, and honest, but some people might fall short of that because I don’t have the energy or the patience.
$crim: I’ll tell you this. As far as my family, you can go through Sing Me a Lullaby and read a lot of lyrics that I don’t even have the wherewithal to be able to tell them face to face. Music’s kinda been my outlet. It’s a complicated situation. It’s a fu–ed up situation, and at the end of the day no matter how much of the work I’ve done regarding sobriety and the program, I just haven’t gotten to that point where I can have a conversation with them that moves forward. I’m not saying that’s right either! But it is what it is.
Were family members upset with things said on Sing Me a Lullaby?
$crim: S–t, when that album came out I got a lot of texts and phone calls from people that were not happy. They were not happy, to say the least, with some of the things I said in there. Whether it’s [a fantasy] or real, it’s my truth in that moment, bro — and it’s what I’m feeling and what I’m going through.
Your fans seem really confident about what your lyrics mean, and in turn, seem really confident in deciphering your relationship with your family. Does such a deep dissection of your work ever feel intrusive?
Ruby: Honestly, I kinda hope that they don’t think they know what they’re talking about. At least when it comes to our personal lives, you have no idea. Some of our fans, especially the die-hard ones, they’ll pool all their interactions and resources to come up with some sort of conclusion. From what I’ve seen about what they think we’re saying metaphorically, I think they kinda draw a lot of their own conclusions. Sometimes they’re right! A lot of the times I think they kinda fall short. All they get is the little tidbits that we feed them from time to time and I don’t think that’s enough to actually assemble an idea of what we go through.
$crim: That’s the beauty of [our lyrics] though. It’s to be interpreted.
Sing Me a Lullaby offers moments of hope but still at times feels eerie and dark. Tell me more about the relationship you have between this new positive outlook and the darker themes that you’ve touched on in past records. It feels like they’re at war with each other.
Ruby: I’d say they’re always at war with each other. It’s just some days the negative side wins, some days the positive side wins, but they’re constantly at war with each other. We’re naturally depressed people, it’s our makeup, It’s who we are, and the whole positive outlook and steps towards self-care is the antidote that’s not…drugs. So we can numb ourselves and numb our emotions and do some short-term solutions, but that constant battle every day of not hating yourself or hating the world is something that we will struggle with for the rest of our lives. But as long as we keep fighting that’s all we can do.
$crim: That’s where this kinda naturally happened. At the end of the night after every show, I take the time to talk to everyone in attendance and hope to help one person. That kinda started organically after we performed at Lollapalooza. I was having a really f–king bad day. I was on this self-pity kick and the speech I gave was mainly to get the crowd to feel f–king sorry for me because I was feeling sorry for myself. But what ended up happening is that people related, and what I’m getting at is, If I’m gonna win that war, or at least have any acceptance or peace in that war, It’s not as simple as making my mind up to be positive. I have to allow other people to help me. I don’t want anyone leaving there and think I just fucking woke up one day and decided our lives are gonna be better. It doesn’t work like that.
Talk to me about “Eulogy.” That feels like a climactic moment on the record.
$crim: We had both just moved into the same neighborhood in Florida, and I’m usually in the studio quite often and there had been a period of moving into that house and taking a couple of weeks to even get a studio set up. So back home in New Orleans, I have my routine. I have the meetings that I attend over there and it’s one of the things that helps me stay balanced and stay okay. Then I’m in a new situation in Florida and I’m just not good with change. When the studio was finally set up, I tried making a different type of song that was fast tempo, and it wasn’t working, and then I just started writing.
Ruby: It goes back to the question you asked us before about the struggle between “life is good” and “life sucks.” Scott had started this song and at the time we both were struggling with that exact issue. Why are we not happy? We just moved to Florida, we’re making great music together like everything is going good. Why are we still fucking miserable? We found comfort in that we both felt that way because we both felt like something was wrong with us. It was just this weird day where we were on this “F–k everything” tip.
You rap, “This type of pain will earn you seven figures.” As two people who have established their creative identity off personal trauma, do you guys ever feel confined by this identity now that you’re trying to personally break out of it?
Ruby: Maybe at one point, but I think right now we’re closer to it than we ever have been. Enough time has gone by where we’ve shown we’re not just who you think we are — we’ve shattered that illusion. Our fans always tell us, “You saved my life.” That’s the first thing they tell us. And unfortunately neither of us have had a very good reaction to being told that. It’s a strange thing to be told, and I don’t think Scott and I believed that we had the capability to do that. The truth of the matter is, they saved our lives.
$crim: There was a point in time when we felt confined. I can say this, just over the past couple of years being in the headspace we’re in now. I don’t feel that way anymore. Personally speaking, yeah, that was something that weighed heavy on me. I thought I was starting to get caged in and it wasn’t something I wanted to be stuck in. When Ruby first found me, I was rapping about like trap s–t. I would have never pictured… and that’s a credit to him for seeing something in me that I didn’t see in myself, and pushing me more towards this.