Album Review: Lucki - 'Days B4 III'

Just months after the release of his career-changing Freewave 3, Chicago's brightest underground star is back with another instant classic.

This time around, Lucki took a different approach to his creation. As the cover art of Days B4 III is a beautiful tribute to Chief Keef's classic Almighty So, Lucki also took some sonic inspiration from the fellow Chicago heavy-hitter. Tracks such as "Hollywood Dreamer" and "Beverly Hills to 35th", for example, see Lucki wonderfully utilize autotune and catchy hooks like never before.

However, Lucki is one of the most unique artists in hip-hop at the moment. While he takes inspiration from fellow greats, he has a secret sauce of his own that is seen vividly across Days B4 III.

Exactly like its predecessor Freewave 3, Days B4 III is 15 tracks, 30 minutes. This format seems to work seamlessly for Lucki, allowing him to showcase all of his sounds and styles in a short enough time to keep listeners reeled in from start to finish. Essentially, a catalog of 2-minute gems.

That being said, Lucki always makes a bold entry with his intro tracks.

"Me Myself & I" starts the album off on a confident note. While Lucki's discography has historically been depressing and borderline self-deprecating, this year has seen his confidence skyrocket. This is likely due to his rise to prominence and praise over the past year, becoming one of the most beloved underground rappers in the game after years of dropping slept-on gems. While Lucki is far from the type to sell out, I believe the praise he has received this year has pushed him to reach new levels of creativity and work ethic.

However, that's not to discredit his natural evolution as an artist and human being.

Days B4 III is purely a product of Lucki's astronomical growth. He's a true chef with his craft, always willing to try new flavors and build off of the successes. Days B4 III sees Lucki experiment with new trap-inspired sounds while reincorporating the dark yet playful, futuristic yet nostalgic sounds that have defined him as an artist.

16yrold & Lucki

For that nostalgia factor, Lucki tapped a few of his past producers- BrentRambo, 16yrold, and StoopidXool. These three producers understand Lucki's sound and style to a T, able to create perfect canvases for his expression. The BrentRambo tracks, "Tbt" and "Beverly Hills to 35th", sound as if they could've been on Freewave 3 while simultaneously sounding brand new. "Way 2 Rare" with 16yrold is carried by bright and bouncy synths, innately boasting nostalgic, 80s arcade type vibes.

Lucki has always understood the importance of beat selection; he's gotten better and better at it over time. For every project he puts out, he recruits a dream team of producers to handle the sonics.

This time around, he handed most of the album's production off to DJ Eway. The fairly-unknown producer proved himself on Days B4 III, boldly assisting Lucki on his experimental quest.

DJ Eway

DJ Eway produced many of the album's best tracks- "Randomly", "Go Away!!", "Send Me On My Way", and "Last Time Mentioning (Good Riddance)". These four tracks alone encompass a wide range of sounds, putting the versatility of both Lucki and Eway on full display. These two have a true, almost effortless chemistry together.

However, there seems to be a trend. Lucki will entrust a certain producer to carry the bulk of a project, and then move on from them for the next project. For example, Plu2o Nash handled much of Freewave 2 and other early releases; MarcusBasquiat handled much of Days B4 II; ChaseTheMoney handled much of Freewave 3. I don't think it has as much to do with pettiness as it does with Lucki's constant evolution; Lucki seems to thrive off placing new producers in the driver's seat.

Production is a major component of every Lucki project, but I would be remiss not to touch on his improved rap ability over the course of his career. While he switches up his producers on each project, he ultimately gets better at his own craft each time around. His bars are as sharp as ever on Days B4 III; here are some of my favorites:

"I was 15, real slimy n***a I was up north, takin' weed from hipsters"

- "Me Myself & I"

"I'm rich but I still get sorta sad These lil' n***s big quarterbacks Big in the pocket, but avoid the sack"

- "Tbt"

"Perky beat me, but I gotta fight back Still sippin' lean, and I'm on the right track Bet your Porsche don't wanna race my Track'"

- "Hollywood Dreamer"

Yeah, okay. Some of you traditional hip-hop heads might be like, "that's it?"

But for Lucki, he's come a long way. He's made sizable strides in improving his unique brand of lyricism and delivery. I'm not going on this tangent to undercut Lucki, by any means. His growth as a songwriter and overall lyricist is worth noting. It may not be "Kendrick or Cole" type lyricism, but he's got something special.

Lucki is entirely in a lane of his own.

The above statement is the ultimate takeaway from Days B4 III. If it wasn't clear before that Lucki is one of the most refreshing and consistent artists in the game, it should be undeniable now.