CD Review: The Present by Luckyiam

I’m not entirely sure when I became a fan of hip hop for the second time. Hell, it seems like just as recently as a few months ago, I was agreeing with Nas that hip hop was dead. Personally, I thought it breathed its last meaningful breaths sometime around the early to mid-90s. Say what you will about Biggie or Tupac or Jay-Z or who have you, but after the highlights of the 80s/early 90s, those guys were all peddling the same stuff, and I simply wasn’t buying it. After the record labels decided that the easiest thing to package to suburban white kids was gangsta rap, and violence, misogyny and hatred seemed to be all that mattered, I was out. Quite frankly, it stopped being “fun,” and worse still, it grew increasingly stagnant. Sure, there will still a few artists out there going against the grain, like DOOM, Q-Tip or Madlib, but their ilk was few and far between.

Whether I was simply grossly misinformed or that things have genuinely changed, sometime this year a crop of very promising artists started crossing my radar. I’m going to give mad props, as I believe the kids say, to ye olde blogosphere and the advent of mixtapes. Mixtapes started as a way for artists to tide over fans between “official” releases, often re-producing older material, leaking early demos of upcoming work and the like. They’ve since morphed into a lot more, from concept affairs like DJ Drama Presents: Gangsta Raps or Damn, It Feels Good to be a Gangsta to full fledged studio affairs. Now, LET is never going to be a “hip hop” blog as such (though you may be inclined to think differently of late), and quite frankly, there are others out there far more informed than me. Passion of the Weiss is not only the best hip hop blog out there I know, it’s one of the best music blogs I know, period. Those cats have a writing style that is consistently entertaining, and it surprises me how much dope shit they post for relative noobs like me. Blogs like Rollo & Grady and Berkeley Place, another two faves of mine, are not a hip hop blogs, either, but they uncover some great stuff, too. As a matter of fact, R&G first turned me onto Luckyiam, the raison d’etre of today’s post.

Luckyiam is a member of the Living Legends collective, an eight man crew out of Cali. They’re part of the indie-rap movement, which tends to eschew the somewhat tired West Coast gangsta style, instead utilizing new and fresh beats to put a whole new spin on the genre. Luckyiam has a thick, nearly rapid-fire flow that perfectly augments his music. More so than with most rappers, his vocals truly come across as another instrument in the ensemble as opposed to something that starkly contrasts the beats. And wouldn’t you know it, he’s got a new mixtape out and, best of all, IT’S FREE. And this thing is a monster. It’s called The Present and was released on Lucky’s birthday. I’ve got to be honest, I’m amazed this thing isn’t blowing up the blogosphere. Hell, it’s got Imani from Pharcyde guesting on a track, for chrissakes! I’ve got a couple of tracks here for your listening pleasure, but you need to go get the rest of this thing NOW. Seriously. Immediately, if not sooner. Go!
mp3: In My Room (Luckyiam from The Present)
mp3: Sumpthin 2 Say ft. Imani & Pep Love (Luckyiam from The Present)
mp3: Fuck Your Motherfucking Trucker Hat (Luckyiam from The Collector’s Item)
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