Freddie Old Soul Credit: Courtesy the Artist

Chicago rapper Fredrianna Harris, aka Freddie Old Soul, uses hip-hop to open a vivid window into everyday life. On “Hot Tamale,” one of the best tracks off her new self-released EP, The First People, she turns groceries into a narrative device that bundles up seemingly stray musings about young motherhood, COVID-19, and the unrelenting presence of death. Her arch delivery bridges her scattered ideas, and her incisive wordplay demonstrates that some of them were interconnected all along. Even on “Break Bread,” where Harris excoriates powerful pop-culture figures who give nothing but lip service to righteous Black causes, you can still feel how much she enjoyed finding the best way to make her verses swing and blossom within the beat. The First People is a brief album, but Harris nonetheless finds enough room to foreground many of the complications of pandemic life.   v