Providing an honest, gritty account of his emotional process in the new single ‘Nothing Hurts When I’m Asleep’, Beth Shalom Records artist Lee Butler (aka AUTUMNBOY) has been releasing music under the emo rap project since 2016 after spending years in touring metla and deathcore bands. Lee uses the project as sonic diary, continuously creating unique soundscapes that tell his own story of faith and mental health in a new and unique way. Today, we’re giving you a brief insight into his art, along with a special “Top 10 Emo Rap Artists”, penned by AUTUMNBOY himself!
Asked about the meaning of the new heartfelt offering, Lee commented: “This song for me was originally a space of catharsis for a depressive episode that I had. Suffering with Borderline Personality Disorder means that at times my emotional processes can be more intense than what it could be for a normal person, so it can often engulf me in a space of tunnel vision where it feels like that emotion is all there is. This was really interesting as I came back to rewrite and finish the song, it became a looking glass from an outside perspective into how I can be when I’m at my lowest. It’s easy to forget when I’m in other emotional states. Although I don’t want to glorify feeling depressed or suicidal, I feel that through art pieces like this, it can help people see themselves, process their own emotions, and feel less like they’re weird or different for feeling them. There are so many of us in the same boat, we aren’t alone.”
Autumnboy’s new single ‘Nothing Hurts When I’m Asleep’ was released on Beth Shalom Records on the first day of autumn, September 22nd. It gives a brief but intense look into his ongoing struggles with mental health. While having gritty and honest lyrics about the pain felt in bouts of depression, Autumnboy even still seems to give a slightly hopeful spin on his lyrics.
Autumnboy as a project started back in 2016 when Lee found about the ‘Emo Rap’ subculture. Finding artists like nothing,nowhere, Lil Peep, and many others gave him a foundational springboard to try something new musically. “I made tons of music in my trashy bedroom studio anyway, so it was just a new way to try to express myself.” – he continues. “As time went on it became the main way that I expressed myself and the easiest, I began playing shows about a year in (something I’d originally never planned to do) and eventually ended up writing albums and touring. It was unexpected for it to carry on to this degree but I’m very grateful.
In terms of future plans I’m just working on a ton of new music and hoping that Covid calms down a bit eventually so that I can safely play shows and interact with people again. Whilst this project is an emotional expression for me, I want it to be of benefit to others and I want to be able to share the love that I have found in God and my emotional process in a more intimate manner. So live shows are really important to me and I can’t wait to be able to do more of that in the future.”
UK emo rap
“Over the past couple of years its been really cool to see more artists that come closer to the ‘Emo Rap’ subgenre come out of the woodwork. What’s even cooler is for the most part most of them take so much influence from other places that make them ascend the genre itself and have really beautiful musical identities for themselves. It makes me happy that this is not only happening, but its also celebrated by fans, people within the scene, and industry people. The small scene of people that we have dotted around the UK is still growing but it makes me really excited watching it grow.
Top 10 Emo Rap Artists – see below:
Top 10 Artists within the Emo Rap subgenre, by AUTUMNBOY
Whilst a good friend of mine, HANDSXFEET has been paving the way for something that I find incredibly new and exciting. A blend of Emo Rap/Trap Metal with faith based lyrics. Being a faith based artist myself and a big fan of the Christcore movement and subgenera that was about in the early 2010s, what HXF makes feels like a revival in the scene that should be payed attention to.
Over the years that he’s been making music 93 paved out a sound within the genre that was very recognisable and impressive. Recently he dropped a new record called SOFUBI that I’ve had on repeat, I was pleasantly surprised to hear his classic Emo Rap style blended with some really experimental electronic styles. It made it really stand out and I love to see people being unafraid to try something new when expressing themselves.
Being a big fan of early Tigers Jaw, when getting into the Emo Rap subgenre, it was really cool to see an artist transition that was already known within the alternative scene. Wicca has a very unique voice that lends itself really well to everything he creates and makes him stand out amongst other artists. I also love the aesthetic that he creates with his character.
The only artist on this list that is also from the UK, Sullii has done an amazing job at creating an immersive world surrounding his own emotional experiences spanning across multiple records and was able to build a large fanbase very quickly. I’ve seen no inconsistencies in the way he presents himself as an artist or within his music which can be very easy when finding your feet as a new artist, this meant that he’s been able to tour with some of the bigger names within the genre straight away and has been only improving since.
Whilst not beginning their career in this genre or even being fully immersed in it themselves, ISMFOF has made a consistent effort to bring their genre mashing abilities into the scene in new ways. Touring with and collaborating with Emo Rappers and even releasing songs that would sit soundly within the genre, I couldn’t leave them off of this list. They’ve been an all time favourite since my early teens and I love what they’re doing.
5. Lil Lotus
Lil Lotus is an artist that seems to have skyrocketed onto the scene over the past few years. Managing to sign to Epitaph Records was more proof to me that music like this is being recognised by some of the figureheads and trailblazers in the industry which is incredibly exciting. His vocals feel like a true homage to Emo from the mid 2000s and I absolutely love that.
4. Lil Aaron
I am consistently impressed by the consistency of Lil Aarons work. This mainly comes down to the fact that not only does he stay true to the skater punk/emo rap style and aesthetic with everything that he makes, but he also has impeccable professional songwriting skills that means that all of his releases is are hits. That paired with his ‘I don’t care’ attitude on social media, he portrays a character that not only strives for excellence in his craft, but also doesn’t take himself too seriously while he does it.
Whilst having many crossover fans from other artists that I’ve mentioned in this list, Oliver Francis to me has always felt like a bit of an outlier within the scene. But I don’t think this is a negative thing, in fact I think its quite intentional. It seems that Oliver has made a point of pushing his music independent of major labels, trying to trailblaze and create a fanbase without being tied down and have his vision controlled. Considering the large listener base that he has, it seems like he has achieved this and keeps on growing. I love the ambition that he shows and the fact that he seems to consistently build a loyal fanbase as he releases content.
2. Lil Peep
Whilst he didn’t start the movement, it seems that Lil Peep was the one that really pushed the concept of Emo Rap into the mainstream more than ever before. Finding his music in 2016, he always seemed like a prominent name and voice amongst the scene and it’s not hard to see why. His natural ability to write catchy melancholic lyrics matched with the influences he brought into everything he created created something that felt new and exciting at the time. Whilst the genre was beginning to grow and there were many pushing a similar style, Peeps songwriting skill and irresistible persona made him stand out. I am constantly drawn to what he created.
Being the first artist I heard in the genre, and being the main inspiration for my early works, nothing,nowhere will always hold a special place in my heart. He is another artist that has carved out a voice in the scene in a way that nobody else has. His songwriting has his personality written into in a way that makes it stand high above the rest regardless of where he takes it genre wise. From making Rap tracks, to Metal and all the way to Midwest Emo, n,n has managed to find his sound and create a die hard fanbase.
Spotify Playlist – more emo rap artists and tracks worth a check:
“This playlist is an amalgamation of my favourite artists within the local scene that I’ve spoken about, as well as some of my favourites within the wider genre. I hope that it can be a good starting point for anyone wanting to experience everything that I’ve been talking about here.”
We asked AUTUMNBOY for an additional message for the readers out there, and heres what we got:
“Everything I do in my work is an open expression of myself, I’ve come to learn over the years how important it is to let myself be open and honest about my feelings so that others may be able to do the same. I find that in the two areas that I reside (the music scene and the church) both can have an issue with true or healthy expression, I want you to know that its okay and that you’re allowed to feel the things that you feel.
𝐼𝑓 𝑦𝑜𝑢’𝑟𝑒 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑢𝑔𝑔𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑖𝑛 𝑎𝑛𝑦 𝑤𝑎𝑦, 𝑝𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑒 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑙𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑑. 𝐿𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑑 𝑏𝑦 𝑚𝑒, 𝑙𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑑 𝑏𝑦 𝐺𝑜𝑑, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑏𝑦 𝑠𝑜 𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑦 𝑎𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑑 𝑦𝑜𝑢 (𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑛 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑚𝑎𝑦 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑖𝑠𝑒). 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑠 𝑦𝑜𝑢 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑠𝑎𝑦 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑣𝑎𝑙𝑢𝑒, 𝑦𝑜𝑢 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑣𝑎𝑙𝑢𝑒. 𝑇𝑎𝑘𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑝𝑢𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑠 𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑏𝑒 ℎ𝑜𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑡 𝑎𝑏𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑎𝑟𝑒.
If you need someone to talk to, need some prayers, or want to learn more about me and my faith, feel free to hit up any of my socials. We can chat.
God bless you and I hope you have a great day. Thanks for reading.”