Lucki Eck$
Words by Andy Bustard

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what sets Lucki Eck$ apart from the hundreds of budding young rappers currently taking over the Internet, but maybe that’s because he’s unique in pretty much every way possible. “Not to be cliche, but I don’t see myself in the same lane as anybody else,” he says. “I see myself in my own little Lucki bubble.”

Bubble is a good way to put it. Sparse, thoughtful and extremely intoxicating, Lucki’s music often leaves you with the sensation of floating around your own cranium in a semi-comatose state. You find yourself seriously debating whether to take up selling drugs, because he makes it sound so damn effortless. Like poking your head inside a freshly hotboxed room, the contact high is strong when you press play.

It may sound like complex stuff - a potent formula perfected through years of theory and practice - but it was only last February when the 18-year-old Chicago native earned his first look on the city’s influential local rap blog, Fake Shore Drive. Five months and a handful of buzzworthy releases later, Lucki formally introduced himself to the world with his debut project, Alternative Trap. And just like Ronseal, it did exactly what it said on the tin.

Boasting a buffet of dreamy, desolate and often drum-less beats that you could easily categorize as chillwave or even indie pop (such as the Daughter-sampling ‘Alternative Troubles’,) Alternative Trap was indeed a refreshing breather from the blistering drill rap that has come to dominate and define the Windy City. And like so many other kids making music right now, Lucki credits that to certain mavens from the Midwest.

“You got kids like Chief Keef, they make drill music. We call it ‘hood.’ They have a hood environment,” he explains. “But kids like us -- me, Chance etc -- we come from a hood background, but we all came up off Kid CuDi and Kanye, so we made it our whole life. The media not only changed how people made music, but how people dressed and everything.”

Since last Summer, Lucki has, naturally, caught the ear of fellow creative anomalies like British sensation FKA twigs (who directed, produced and starred in his ‘Ouch Ouch’ video) and rap’s number one weirdo Danny Brown, who he collaborated with for a song called ‘Weightin’ On,’ and also briefly toured with this Spring alongside his Bruiser Brigade crew.

“They were so cool. I didn’t know whether they were going to actually be that cool, you know?” he says of his collaborators. “I thought I was about to be uncomfortable. I thought it was about to be a bunch of conversations where people just talk to each other and leave me out of it, because they didn’t know me. But since then, me and Danny have become cool as hell.”

Although he hasn’t quite reached a moment of clarity like Danny has (“I’m not trying to be ratchet no more. It’s time to grow up,” he told Noisey earlier this year), Lucki’s relationship with drugs, at least on wax, has evolved over the past year. The rapper dropped his follow-up project, Body High, this last August, which expands his narrative from a devoted drug dealer to a drug user teetering on the edge of addiction.

“Biggie told me never use your own supply/But he don’t understand I need it like a school supply/So I’m just glued to this until I probably die,” Lucki confesses on the penultimate track “4th Commandment Broken,” which cleverly flips The Notorious B.I.G.’s coke rap classic as he imagines the late rapper frowning on him from hip-hop heaven. Even when blitzed out of his mind, the kid can still craft a hell of a song.

Despite his apparently escalating drug habit, Lucki remains as committed a dealer as you’ll ever meet. Across his two mixtapes he has a trilogy of songs called ‘Count On Me’, on which he brags about being “everybody’s favourite plug.” Forget the money, the girls and the cars, it’s almost like Lucki relishes being a reliable trader in an otherwise treacherous industry, taking pride in his work the same way a builder or a painter would. Did we mention this kid isn’t your average rapper?

With Body High bound for plenty of music publications’ end-of-year lists, Lucki Eck$ isn’t about to get lost in the sauce. “I got a little something under my sleeve, but I’m about to get back to the work and get back to the basics,” he says. “The next drops I do, people are going to be like, ‘Wow, Lucki’s really maturing as an artist and we should really start taking him more seriously.’” That’s assuming we weren’t already.
Lucki Eck$