Chris Crack Credit: Courtesy the Artist

In June, Chicago rapper Chris Crack self-released Cute Boys (The Rise of Lil Delicious) on Bandcamp roughly two months after dropping White People Love Algorithms. Most artists releasing 36 songs in a couple months would qualify as prolific, but Chris Crack isn’t most artists; last year, he’d put out four albums by July. All of which is to say we could very well be at the beginning of a new deluge from one of the country’s most prodigious underground MCs. Chris has a puckish streak, and his vocal inflections can cut like barbed wire. His stylish, irascible verses are shot through with humor (he released an album called Troll Till They Fold in 2016), but Cute Boys also highlights his flexibility as a vocalist: much of the album marinates in bubble-bath R&B, somnambulant jazz, or twilight boogie, all of which he complements with sensual singing. But Chris doesn’t spend long focused on any particular style or mood—it’s as though he’s driven by whatever novel idea inspires him to get on the mike and start recording, and that only seems to intensify the animated fervor of his vocals. On “White Lies Cost Black Lives,” his morose hook captures the anxiety, anger, and grief that erupt when white cops kill Black people, and his sullen lilt hints at the despair that grows every time it happens again.   v