Harold’s Chicken is packed with a bunch of rowdy teenagers who seem to thrive on the relaxed chaos of chatter and laughs while enjoying a cool summer day at Wicker Park’s annual summer festival. By the front door, a tall skinny kid stands-out wearing a red BAPE hoodie paired with a sort of nonchalant swagger that shatters the moment he hears a song by one of the bands playing in the distance and he joyously exclaims with a lit-up smile, “Is this a Prince song?!”
The 17 year-old, –who at this point finds himself spaced-out and trying to figure the logistics of the Prince track–is Lucki Eck$, the latest emcee from Chicago to have gained significant traction in the blogosphere, largely due to his work on his debut mixtape, Alternative Trap.
Back at Harold’s, Lucki stops paying attention to the song and gathers most of his friends outside for a quick improvised photo-shoot of the crew in the middle of Milwaukee Ave. Settling back in the chicken joint, Lucki briefly takes a break from his incessant movement to talk about the project. But, just as we begin the interview, he starts bobbing his head as he states with a gleeful laughter, “Aye, this my song. This song’s raw as hell!”
Initial perceptions of the West Side native’s talent might be misguided by his propensity to have his mind in various places all at once, even attesting to it on the track “New Life” where he raps, “I been in and out of these thoughts […] You ain’t even figured that I’m Usain Bolt going on a little run trying to track my thoughts.” —But, when it comes to his craft, Lucki is able to forget the world, if only briefly, and focus solely on the record at hand. The complexity of his rhymes is way beyond his years, yet there’s a youthful essence stemming from his stubbornness and loyalty to his childhood friends. He engages the listener with double-entendres, mixing drug slang and pop culture references from start to end.
Alternative Trap is an anthology of narratives from an arrogant drug dealer that mostly consists of selling the highest of quality, his junkie customers, and how reckless his crew is, but there are times when he shows a lighter side, such as in “Cocaine Woman,” where he falls for a white girl who only uses him to get her daily high. This contrast in themes humanizes Lucki, who is able to portray a character with depth and emotions that has a bold persona with hints of insecurities. The trippy and eccentric instrumentals provided by the likes of Hippie Dream, Plu2o Nash, Doc Da Mindbenda, Nate Fox and Odd Couple, accentuates the sentiments Lucki delivers with a buoyance effect.
Bobbing his head to the last beats of the song, Lucki quickly looks back at me, getting back to business and knocking out question after question. He enjoys being interviewed, especially because this is one of the few he has done. Eric Montanez conducted the rapper’s first ever for SeeBeyondGenre back in May, and the Chicago Reader had a feature of him on their blog the day the ‘tape dropped. Lucki seems to embrace the craziness of his newfound buzz as good as any 17 year-old kid can, and he indulges on his promising future during our Q&A, which you can read in the following pages.