Vic Spencer Credit: Courtesy the Artist

Chicago rapper Vic Spencer couldn’t let the year pass without dropping at least a couple albums. August’s Spencer for Higher 3 (Old Fart Luggage) is his third solo outing of 2020, and that’s not even all he’s put out. After February’s Psychological Cheat Sheet and April’s No Shawn Skemps, he released June’s Your Birthday’s Cancelled as part of Iron Wigs, an underground supergroup that also features Chicago rapper Verbal Kent and UK rapper-producer Sonny Sathi, better known as SonnyJim. Sathi produced the bulk of Spencer for Higher 3, and his elegant old-school soul approach to boom-bap brings out the musicality in Spencer’s gritty voice. Spencer can come off as irascible, but on this album he’s most often self-deprecating and playfully mischievous—he occasionally uses his ad-libbed grunts as an exclamation mark at the end of a jocular line. Spencer’s a workaholic, but throughout Spencer for Higher 3 he sounds like he’s unlocked the secret to having more fun on the clock than anybody else.   v