Madison's KiloSkitL'z and Lil Guillotine are among the highlights at this benefit show for several worthy local causes. Info
Predominantly featuring Madison-based hip-hop artists, the monthly Hip-Hop Fundraiser series has becoming a refreshing addition to the city's glut of monthly events. This edition, benefitting the Free the 350 Bail Fund, The Progress Center For Black Women, and One City Schools, features 11 acts, but I want to focus here on two—KiloSkitL'z and Lil Guillotine—with harmonious sensibilities but completely different aesthetics.
Originally from Evanston, Illinois, KiloSkitL'z is a prolific performer around town. Her music pulls largely from Southern styles from the '90s and early '00s. Songs like her most recent cut, "New Religion," join together carefully erected and enunciated verses, production consisting of heavy vocal sampling, and messages of perseverance and self-empowerment. These components, combined with the track's plainspoken interludes and lines like "First they hate me, love me, hate me again / No amount of money you could pay me to pretend," recalls Jeezy when he was still Young Jeezy, but with an added emphasis on KiloSkitL'z identity as a queer black woman.
And then there’s Lil Guillotine. Instead of leaning into the thrash-rap that his name and descriptions like "agit-prop" and "anarchist" might connote, he instead leans into the rap of the Internet's weirder corners, a la Lil B and Viper. On the hook of one of his recent cuts "Fuck ICE," Lil Guillotine nonchalantly states over a jazzy beat, "Figgity fuck ICE, fuck ICE, fuck ICE, fuck ICE." But, though simplistic and perhaps sardonic, Lil Guillotine's verses also contain statements like, "We don't need no cops, that's a fable," and "Borders are violent, that's why we riotin'." It would be easy to write off Lil Guillotine's music as over-the-top satire, but I think that might overlook a clever stylistic choice. Given that memified styles like mumble rap prompt the listener to wade into the emcee’s muddied deliveries in order to uncover whatever lyrical absurdities lie underneath, Lil Guillotine instead surprises the listener with direct political statements and calls to action. Figgity fuck ICE indeed. —Henry Solo