Last week, the South Carolina hip-hop label BoyMeetSpace released the posthumous 18veno album, Space Route, which follows the 2020 tape, Pablo. The release comes a few short months after the 19-year-old rapper was fatally shot in Rock Hill. Born in Winnsboro, SC, 18veno had been rapping since the 4th grade, and in 2020 he started to receive much more attention for his music when he linked up with the noted producers Jetsonmade and Neeko Baby. At the time of his death he was on the verge of a major breakthrough onto the national radar, landing a spot on Pigeons & Planes’ best new artists list for his antagonistic yet lighthearted style, and also catching the ears of outlets like Pitchfork and Lyrical Lemonade. It goes without saying that 18veno was taken too soon, and we’re sadly left with just a short glimpse into the life of an artist that had a bright future ahead of him.
Space Route is an 18-track showcasing of everything that 18veno excelled at. The record includes some of his more upbeat and aggressive songs, complete with thick and dirty beats and Veno with a snarl in his voice, plus some more mellow and thoughtful tunes equipped with melodic beats and a more careful approach. 18veno had such a charismatic air about him and I was always excited to see what he came up with next, and I know I wasn’t alone there. Space Route is a bittersweet end cap to a career that should still be just getting started.
The final track, “Wild Child”, falls into the mellow side of things and is accompanied by the final music video that 18veno shot with his frequent collaborator, Rook, before his passing. “Wild Child” is more personal, lyrically than most of what Veno raps about, discussing his upbringing in the streets and how he doesn’t do well with feelings. The video takes this concept and makes it seem like Veno wrote a love song about his AK-47, and features shots of him driving around with the weapon strapped into his passenger seat, as well as some iconic shots of him playing the gun like a guitar.
Watch the video for “Wild Child” below, and listen to the rest of Space Route below that. Rest in peace to 18veno.