Late last month local rapper-producer Valee dropped 1988, a mixtape that draws strength from its brevity. Valee’s songs often last less than two minutes, and he packs every second with his sui generis personality. Last week Lucki followed suit with the full-length project Watch My Back, whose tracks are almost as short—many barely pass the two-minute mark. Lucki’s rapping can make it feel like time has slowed to a crawl, and on Watch My Back he doesn’t adjust his drowsy flow much—he’s more blunt, though, and sometimes he colors his monotone vocals with a whisper of urgency. Somehow he keeps his music sedate while suggesting that he’s on edge.
Watch My Back feels like an expansion on the style and spirit Lucki introduced last month on the two-song EP Days Be4 Storm. Local producer Ugly Friend made the mournful instrumental for my favorite cut, “Sunset,” where Lucki raps about the possibility of an untimely death. He’s quickened his easygoing pace, which makes him sound unsettled if not paranoid.