Phonk has always been a type of music that consistently resonated with me. Sonically the dark, grimy sound always enraptured me and hooked me in. Originally taken by artists like Lil Wyte, Brotha Lynch Hung, and Twisted Insane, early artists who boast early iterations of this dark aesthetic, I then later turned to the Raider Klan sound as well as Doomshop. The allure was never lost on me as it evolved into one of the staple sounds for the underground. One artist still dropping phonk tapes is Buffalo artist ICXXY, who just released his last project for the year DXMXN MVSIK.

The 5 track tape is a thrilling exercise in mood, atmosphere, and entertaining bars, both in part to ICXXY himself and chilling yet exhilarating beats by BMB Evil Haze. The intro track ​SNXW features this warped progressive trap sound, utilizing a low pass vocal filter to give this muffled sound to ICXXY’s voice, accompanied by sustained, spine tingling keyboard synth-esque notes. This track is a heavy handed lead that helps set this type of dark atmosphere up that I can only describe as auditorily ​watery. This track also acts as a conduit for gruff braggadocio for both ICXXY himself and the BMB team; “Everybody know I’m sellin beats for the low… Everybody know that Ice Man so cold…”.

The subsequent track ​DXMXN MVSIK is the main highlight off this tape for me, solely based on the abrasive bars that ICXXY delivers. These lines aren’t intricate, but that’s what seemingly makes them appealing. As clear as day, ICXXY begins to maintain, “This ain’t no horrorcore… This that demon shit”, continuing with, “Imma fuck another demon bitch, I just need a new demon witch… I just need a new goth bitch… I don’t give a fuck I’m lit”. Easily remembered, simply delivered bars yet they harbor a catchiness that strikes me in a way similar to watching shows like ​Gangland or similar gritty documentaries.

Despite ​DXMXN MVSIK being the main highlight off the tape, it isn’t to say there aren’t these gripping elements on the other tracks that transport you to adrenaline pumping parts of your mind. It’s the various pieces of creativity juxtaposed with sheer simplicity that’s rather addictive on this project. One example of this is the wavy vocal effects ICXXY uses to spit, such as on the track ​BVCKWXXDS, a track that exhibits this speedy higher pitched sound with a memorable repetitive flow; “Imma pull up with a blade, Imma pull up with your bitch…”. Another example is the haunting horn-like instrumentals that loop around the beat in ​BLXXDY ICXXX, replete with tough, graphic imagery from ICXXY; “Ice froze… Bloody ice, Rocking bloody clothes, Bloody hoes, Goth witch hoes”. A final element worth noting is the very memorable and ethereal tag from producer BMB Evil Haze, starting almost every ICXXY track with this low pitched, bass-y wraith voice spewing the word “Evil”.  

DXMXN MVSIK harnesses the typical otherworldly phonk sound, complete with gritty dark imagery and reckless lyrics. It’s akin to sitting in the dark watching a Saw movie, something with a blatantly simple allure but still captivating and entertaining you. ICXXY keeps things interesting and catchy, all the while slightly experimental. Run it up.