‘Dreamboy… why you so painful?
Counterfeit, boy. What the fuck you been payin for?
So, let the blossoms fall — in Autumn — I pay my respects
For all the shit that bloomed
when it never had to.‘
Dreamboy aka luki <3, Dream Boy
His name was Lukas. I’m not sure what his last name was, and perhaps it’s not even important.
Lukas was (seemingly) an individual who did not even possess that kind of ability to have a last name. Because what is a last name? The mark of some sort of history. The signifier of a genealogy beyond that physical subject. This boy, in my view, did/does not have that. But it’s not so much that he didn’t/doesn’t deserve it, or that it was denied to him by some sort of cosmic indifference — or scorn. Moreover, it’s not even that his family was an unimportant aspect to the his life — in fact, I know for certain that was not the case. What’s more, Lukas’ being when he was here, and even now that he is not, seems to be poignantly summed up, not in his given title, but in the boy’s self-gifted honorific: Dreamboy (aka luki <3).
What is at first glance a name that conjures up images (or feelings) of some fantasmic, magical individual wandering the realm of some Square Enix rpg world — a world of nonflesh, of unliving reality very far from this world, here — is, I argue, a tragic misreading of the boy’s intended focus for his oneiric moniker.
When I meditate on his name, I instead read a title intended as a kind of plea. An anhedonic call for others to understand the world they live in but perhaps are not aware of — a world of opaque localities and spectral structural security. In short, and with all due and deserved respect, Lukas was a diehard dope fiend. Dreamboy was the escape from this merciless world of his; however, his was not an escape by way of an open window, if you will, as so many other artists tend to do with their work. Instead, Dreamboy functioned as the window Lukas let open for others to peer (mediated) into this life and condition he lived — I see you standin in my window-oh… Dreamboy is not the séance for a fantasyland, rather, it is the illustration of ourland and a plea for others to see in — …I got bruises in my soul–oh… His was an escape through delineation.
Dreamboy was, at the same time, and most importantly, an avenue for the boy to create a beautiful art — his music.
Despite his relative unknown-ness, Dreamboy is unlike any other rapper or hip-hop project I have ever come across. Not only is his mellow flow a superior breed than most who remain confined to that solipsistic world of underground Soundcloud artists, his range seems to be unmatched too. With his ability to hint at a more manic Peep-like tendency, while at the same time elicit, expertly, that incredibly difficult intelligence of a Milo-like rhyme-scheme — also, too, without infringing on that cringe spectrum so familiar to most who attempt this style — Dreamboy stands alone in my view.
You pluck my strings,
Got me strung out.
I have a very good friend, we will call him Tonic. About seven months ago, Tonic told me that he had just lost a very close friend. Being the kind of self-centered personality I tend to be sometimes — and too familiar with death that it often washes off me like some dark water off a duck’s back — it did not occur to me to be curious enough to inquire as to who this person was. All I knew was that Tonic’s friend, Lukas, had died of a fentanyl overdose. His death was just another familiar, albeit tragic loss.
I am profoundly sad to admit, I did not learn who this person truly was until much too recently — or far too late.
I was driving with Tonic at night through some winding, narrow road in the Hollywood Hills. Somehow, Lukas’ name was brought up and Tonic put one of his songs on. It was a modestly streamed tune on Soundcloud — about 450 plays — and had a beat that sounded as crisp and professionally done as anything I’ve ever heard; in short, nothing (seemingly) too special. However, there was an uncanny, depressive touch to the song that hinted of something unique in its essence, if only for one (subjective) characteristic: Dreamboy’s music has a haunting presence — redrum in the blueprints, wish my thoughts were more gorgeous. Moreover, Dreamboy, unconsciously, effortlessly, employs this trait throughout his entire discography, exposing a sound perhaps familiar in its sonic tendencies, although unmatched and widely unheard in its moral breadth.
His lyrics, even on some of his more uplifting songs (ie Told Ya), retain that sense of absence — or rather, a haunting presence — that only those individuals lost in the abyss of addiction and dereliction can relate to and elicit. His music seems to evince something that Mark Fisher talks about quite a bit throughout his work: lost futures. Fisher uses a neologism coined, initially, by the French philosopher Jaques Derrida, to describe this sense of longing for something that is no longer as hauntology. In essence, hauntology is taken to refer to the persistence of elements from the past; moreover, in Fisher’s usage, the term refers to the idea that the future is cancelled, that all that can exist now in our cultural ecologies are mediated and ritualized and recycled forms of what was once… In Dreamboy’s context, what has been canceled is not so much a cultural or social future, but rather any subjective future whatsoever — when I ain’t here, you can hear my ghost. Dreamboy’s hauntology is that of what plagues so many kids like him: that subtle acceptance of nihilism, not as a final resort, but as a requisite to being a native in this time we find ourselves in. Just as the (white middle/upper-middle class American) adolescent generation of the 1950’s owned cars, Dreamboy and his generation find themselves owning nothing, in the (very) Real sense of the abstraction, least of all, the future they were “promised” — be a pretty low price if I sold my soul.
Lukas perhaps understood he was not long for this world. It is always those like him that see this. We all wish that things could have and would have been different, but his music seems to be an empirical testament to the latter notion. Dreamboy gave Lukas a channel by which he could not just express how he felt and thought, but in a way, also serve as the most definitive diagnostician of our 21st Century cultural condition as I have ever found on a media cultural medium such as Soundcloud.
There is no resolve to Dreamboy’s music. And beyond the beauty of his rhyme and wordplay, and the elegance of the beats and the hymn of the pitch of his voice, there is no refrain or rest from this life. But then again, that might be the point — be a pretty low price if I sold my soul. Be up late nights, all on my own. No I don’t wanna hear it… Dreamboy… why you so painful?…