Whether on stage or on wax, there are few artists that can match the levels of chaotic intensity, and incisive verbosity of Willie Lee McIntyre Jr aka SKECH185. His upcoming record, He Left Nothing For the Swim Back is a collaboration with producer Jeff Markey coming out February 3, 2023, on Backwoodz Studioz. The album weaves together stories of growing up in working class Chicago and spiritual survival in winner-take-all NYC; gleefully piercing the veil of rap braggadocio and idol worship. Meanwhile Jeff Markey’s beats provide a lushly cacophonous foundation for SKECH’s jab-hook-uppercut delivery.
Chicago; a city whose hip hop roots and history are often widely overlooked by even the most studious of heads, was where SKECH185 cut his teeth and developed his style, implanted within the legendary Tomorrow Kings crew. Growing up on the city’s southeast side with his head typically buried in a drawing book or comic,
SKECH can recall being told to stop rapping to himself as early as first grade. A life and family tree peppered with artists, business owners, bible thumpers, farmers, drug dealers and teachers, SKECH185 describes his younger self as “odd comparatively, but enthusiastic and inquisitive enough” to receive the right kind of support from his elders. His love of drawing and fascination with anime served as a logical launchpad into graffiti by high school, a medium that he credits for his namesake.
On He Left Nothing For the Swim Back, SKECH oscillates between the past and present, which at the time of writing was largely in an isolated, locked-down Brooklyn apartment. As such, he dove deep and came back to the surface with armfuls of gems. Whether sharing the ups and downs of being behind a bar for over a decade or bitter realities of growing up in a warzone; he spares no one and nothing.