Somewhere between emo rap and an almost goth aesthetic, Bones crafts his dark and tormented vision of rap. The prolific artist independently produced dozens of releases under various monikers, developing a devoted fan base around his emotionally heavy output as Bones. Mixtapes like 2014′s Rotten and TeenWitch exposed new fans to the rapper’s style that swung between angsty rap flows and emo singing.
Bones was born Elmo Kennedy O’Connor in Muir Beach, California in 1994. When he was seven, his family relocated to Howell, Michigan. The culture shock of going from a sunny Californian environment to a remote and somewhat backwoods Midwestern town had a marked effect on O’Connor. Being surrounded by racist classmates and beaten up by older kids were events he would later reference in interviews about the seeds that led to the depressing outlook a lot of his music took on. He began experimenting with making music when he was just nine years old and by his teenage years he was releasing music online under the name [email protected] Kid. When he was 16, he dropped out of school and moved to Los Angeles. Connecting with similarly minded artists like Xavier Wulf and Chris Travis, O’Connor took on the Bones moniker in 2012 and immediately began releasing a slew of new music. By 2014, he had released a dozen mixtapes, with projects like 2014′s TeenWitch getting some media attention due to its themes of violence and focus on school shootings. Bones’ style in these early days set the tone for waves of emo rap that followed. His prolific output continued with mixtapes like Garbage, DeadBoy, and Rotten in 2014, Powder and YouShouldHaveSeenYourFace in 2015, Useless and GoodForNothing in 2016, and many other volumes each year. By this time, Bones had amassed a loyal following and had toured the world with his shadowy rap styles. Major labels had shown interest in the rapper, but he’d rejected all advances, happy to stay independent and making music on his own terms. New mixtapes came at a similarly fast clip each year, with highlights being Failure in 2017, Living Sucks in 2018, and I Feel Like Dirt in 2019. ~ Fred Thomas