Chris Crack Credit: Elizabeth De La Piedra

Chris Crack has released five albums of no-frills trash-talking hip-hop in 2020 alone, but he’s not worried about saturating the market. When he talked to Audiomack’s Matthew Ritchie upon the release of his first album of 2021, Might Delete Later, the west-side rapper quipped, “Did Aunt Jemima make too much syrup? Can Clorox ever make too much bleach? Hell no. Because that shit works.” Crack is one of many rappers who embrace the “always in the studio” work ethic modeled by Lil Wayne during his legendary late-00s mixtape run, which has proved well-suited for the pandemic. His music fuses Wayne’s free association with the scatological humor and braying delivery of Danny Brown, who leveled up from the Detroit underground to the international festival circuit after releasing the 2011 mixtape XXX via Brooklyn-based label Fool’s Gold. Might Delete Later, released February 12, is Crack’s own debut for Fool’s Gold, though in an era without concerts he’ll have to wait a bit to generate a bigger live buzz. He announced the album with lead single “False Evidence Appearing Real,” released with a video by local filmmakers New Trash that depicts the rapper lounging around a majestic Illinois nature preserve with a live wolf. It’s a visual with the same philosophy as Crack’s raps: coolness for its own sake.

For Might Delete Later, Fool’s Gold founders A-Track and Nick Catchdubs whittled 150 songs down to their 15 favorites—or, as Crack joked in the album’s press materials, their 15 favorites that feature samples they could afford to clear. The album sums up the strengths of Crack’s flow and beat selection, and it feels like a “best of” collection by an artist who cares more about developing long-term brand loyalty than chasing chart success. Might Delete Later feels like lazily floating on a raft through Crack’s consciousness, soundtracked by choice loops of funk and R&B. Opening track “If She Ain’t 280 She Ain’t a Lady” sets the scene: the narrator starts his day with half-full cans of PBR next to his toothbrush and shrooms in his stomach. True to his love of comedy, Crack fills his verses with vivid character details and half-serious aphorisms. “Fuck this rap shit / I’d rather be a good dad,” he raps on “Fapping Ruined My Life,” a complete non sequitur in a song that concludes with the narrator cutting up dope in the suburbs to better evade the feds. Though Crack has dissed Chicago and antagonized some of its musicians in interviews and on social media, Might Delete Later features several guest appearances from west-side rappers, including CantBuyDeem and Lil Keisha. Cali Hendrix and Roy Kinsey rap together on “Kaiser Permanente,” delivering haughty verses that act as smooth counterpoints to Crack’s dirty, laid-back hook, which he recorded with a pay-phone-style vocal filter over a moldy keyboard. When Crack closes the track, dropping a quick eight-bar verse with a wired-up delivery, it’s a noticeable contrast with that hook, and makes him sound like a hype man and a featured guest on his own song—and that’s a product you can rely on.   v