Album Review: On Freewave 3 (2019 LP), Lucki has forced himself and his turmoil into the limelight

For those who haven’t heard about Chicago rapper Lucki, the 22 year old is one of the most promising underground rap talents in recent memory. First achieving notoriety in 2012 with his critically acclaimed project Alternative Trap establishing the 16 year old as a formidable rapper with a unique delivery style that has developed and changed over his already very extensive and prolific career.

Lucki has released a number of different projects that have showcased a massive amount of development and progression, with each one sounding distinctly different. Alternative Trap, and to some extent its successor Body High showcased a style clearly influenced by underground rap legends like MF DOOM, and contemporary wonder kids like Earl Sweatshirt. His music changes drastically from this point onwards, mainly due to issues surrounding his drug use and mental health. Freewave 3 is his newest release, showing a very honest and clear portrayal of Lucki, following his years of navigating his own vices and success.

He chooses to write short refrains or repeated lines, and then repeats these throughout the song, with minor variations where he adds other lines. The result are these incredibly catchy melodies and songs that have a sedated drone to them, but still feel very intense. Although his lyrics may be slightly more sparse, his ability to craft great quotes and lines in little time is reflective of his talent. It feels like the a logical balance between simple and snappy lyrics, but with very poetic and raw subject matter. Lucki managed to pack an insane amount of content and emotion into very short bars, often established through the way he can expertly shift between moods and topics so cleanly, almost catching listeners by surprise when he delivers a harrowing line before completely shifting topics.

On first glance, the booming 808’s and quickly sequenced drums may bare the mark of typical modern trap music, but it takes very little time for Lucki’s writing and unique ear for flow to seperate himself from other artists in this style. The quick, almost prophetic refrains leave listeners shocked with the level of pain they exhibit, before almost being eclipsed by the next few lines. The outlooks on hedonism and drugs crash like waves over listeners ears, constantly rolling and moving despite how significant each statement is on its own. This consecutive establishment of momentum is really strong and aids in the accentuation of Lucki’s unique flow and delivery style.

Standout single ‘Peach Dream’ is a great change of pace for Lucki’s style – the song is much more spacious and his delivery is more melodic, almost sung over the skittering drums and reversed synth melodies that form the intoxicating backbone of so many of his songs. Dealing with drug and interpersonal issues is at the crux of Freewave 3 as a project, with a clear eyed exploration of the conflicting viewpoints Lucki has. This turmoil is only accentuated by the fast and glossy beats provided by the likes of CHASETHEMONEY as Lucki can glide over these tracks at lighting pace, or let me breath as he repeats half a bar or loose adlibs to support the rhythm.

The Earl Sweatshirt produced ‘All In’ is an exceptional standout – Earl has crafted a beat that’s a perfect middle point between Soundcloud-geared instrumentation, and the beautiful sample work on his own recent album Some Rap Songs. Lucki and Earl have been long term supporters of each other, and it’s a real gift that fans can finally hear them collaborate.

Overall, with Freewave 3 Lucki has released the project that will mark a huge commercial rise in his career – the project speaks upon the turmoil and progression that Lucki has experienced across his career, but is packaged in a way that new and old fans will be drawn too. The lyrics hit harder, and the instrumentals meld to form a tapestry of hedonism and struggle, with Lucki at the centre, attempting to navigate the fog without getting lost.

FIVE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Freewave 3 is out now.

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