For years now, the 22-year-old Chicago rapper Lucki has been honing his own distinct style, rapping in a thoughtful and inward-directed mumble about serious internal matters, sinking his voice deep into weird and synthy beats. He’s young, but he’s a veteran; this site gave Mixtape Of The Week to Body High, a mixtape that he released way the hell back in 2014, when he was still a teenager and rapping under than name Lucki Eck$. Back then Lucki was occasionally working with big stars like FKA Twigs and Danny Brown. But his online cult has only grown over the years, to the point where there’s now a genuine anticipation for his new project Freewave 3. And on Freewave 3, Lucki pays that anticipation off.
On the first few listens, Freewave 3 is a great record. It’s an album of deep, heavy, obsessively personal rap music. Musically, it’s pretty soothing, and it’s over fast, its 15 songs blurring by in half an hour. But there is emotionally heavy stuff happening here: “Percs really hurt my stomach, but that’s how I feel free.” It’s like we’re hearing a much-younger Future, with all the vulnerability but none of the bravado.
Earl Sweatshirt produced one track on Freewave 3, and you can see what he’d like here, but this isn’t really Earl-style rap. More of the production comes from Valee collaborator Chasethemoney, and even as he gets deep, Lucki knows how to handle beats like those. The whole project is very much worth your time, and you can hear it below.
The self-released Freewave 3 is out now.