Lucki Eck$: Body High (2014)

Body High
Evan Glazman reviews the Chicago rapper's newest mixtape.

The sophomore mixtape from Chicago’s Lucki Eck$, with help from producer Mulatto Beats and kindred spirit FKA Twigs, is a voluptuous, sensual listening experience. It pulls no punches about trying to invade the listener’s headspace, quickly establishing a textural environment of its own. The overall production, characterized as “Alternative Trap” (the name of Lucki’s debut mixtape), is intoxicatingly oozy and glossy-eyed, but the sedated tones and drones are balanced by bright percussion that keeps Body High bouncing along with deliberately downtempo inertia. At this level of exposure – just over 3,000 free downloads from DatPiff to date – the self-indulgence that informs the narration of Body High could potentially come off as crass and an exercise in poor taste, especially for a rapper barely across the threshold of 18 years old. But the mixtape is a jarring exposé of the every-day delinquency that a large portion of 21st century urban youth has come to inherit; it is not only a distinctive aesthetic statement, but a mature engagement with culturally charged issues that MC’s twice Lucki’s age continue to stumble over.

“My uncle told me dope would make me money then he used it./The fact he shot it up and still went broke used to confuse me./ It’s freebie after freebie, text soon as he hear my music./ I feel bad for that nigga, still would serve him need that moolah.” Maybe it’s just the ten-second beat zone-out immediately before them, but these lines mark the most powerful, heartbreaking, and nonchalant moment of the album. Over a lush, flourishing sample, Lucki’s reflective persona sounds too-stoned-to-sneer at the fact that he learned the drug hustle at home, stepping over his guilt to get to the stack of bills on the other side. While the mixtape could be called “moody” (even “angsty”), that doesn’t mean it’s entirely somber and devoid of energy.

Body High is a pharm party – it has its euphoric highs and stoned lows, but always maintains a certain sense of artificial, material stimulation. A slick and brash Lucki wants you to know he’ll work the whole block by himself and enjoy the spoils without you: “I sell these pills to who don’t need em, then I pop them myself.” Despite his breezy attitude about it all, it’s easy to wonder whether his autobiographical character can ever escape the confines of the “Xan Cage” he’s built for himself. “Motherfuckers asking me like ‘what would you do different?’/ Probably take less [pills] and never look up in the mirror.” In the fog of his grown-up problems, paranoia and drug induced insecurities, its not hard to lose sight of the teenage kid with the smooth flow, mistaking him for his old soul alter ego. “I’m still a kid anyway, keep forgettin’ bout that shit.” Lucki Eck$ is already channeling this hyper-awareness through his music at such a young age, which explains how he has carved out a substantial niche with such limited exposure.

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