Coming into this review, I heard rumblings and mumblings about a rapper who was seemingly making moves in the Pretoria rap industry. Prior to the rumbles, I had heard a single and I was easily impressed by his lyricism and musicality. This album seems to continue on that path. Beginner’s Lluck, already the first sign of his wordplay, is a mixtape released by a South African youngster.
Llucky’s mixtape begins on a high with “A Good Man’s Intro”. The song uses a sample that screams Bryson Tiller as he follows Bryson’s decision to utilize K.P. & Envyi’s “Swing My Way” on his biggest song yet, “Exchange”. The production is excellent as Llucky immediately makes his presence known. Llucky enters with a confident cadence and strong wordplay. Punchline after punchline, wordplay after wordplay and it’s clear – he’s impeccable lyrically. He has entendres that will definitely go over most people’s heads. With an up-tempo flow, he manages to reinvent a beat that is largely known to be slow and melodic. However, he suddenly changes his style as he attempts to show his singing ability. His monotone singing cadence works well with the slow and heavily 808 influenced beat but his added vocal layers are slightly off key. Thereafter, the beat fades out and he goes acapella. Whilst acapella, he drops a ferocious freestyle where he switches flows constantly and it can be best summarized by his own words, “Niggas eating dust, can’t keep up with the tempo”.
The following song is, “Off,” which is basically explains his intention while making this song. He goes OFF. He continues the strong start with verses filled with great lyricism, internal rhyme and an aggressive delivery. However, due to his aggressiveness, at times – his flow is off beat and his cadence suffers. His decent singing ability and high energy allows him to rescue the dipping confidence and continue the strong start. “Diamond Girl,” tells the tales of a women who has numerous relationships with older men for money. Llucky picks a slow and modern “Trapsoul” beat that sees him sing with a mellow and monotone cadence that acts as a harmonizing aspect. His storytelling is excellent as he describes a modern day issue that most teenage women may face in their lifetime. His storytelling is vivid as he is naturally descriptive while he still manages to include layers with double entendres. “Good girl gone bad. Ewallet from dad, sugar daddy that is,” – such a simple line shows his ability as a storyteller. “Road 2 Riches” is a self-explanatory track. It tells his tales of his struggles along the way. Again, his storytelling is serene as his cadences matching the mood perfectly. His voice seems to crack, aiding the growing feeling of sincerity. He switches and utilizes a double time flow that elevates his internal rhyme to a higher level. The production is remarkable as it evokes emotions but it is a thoroughly enjoyable song. It ultimately shows his ability to create good music whilst always including a personal anecdote.
“iD Documents” is a largely forgettable song as it has similar subject matter to “Off” and it follows in the same rein therefore being obsolete as he loses a sense of identity (excuse the pun) by relying heavily on a Drake inspired cadence and hook. In complete contrast, he seems to find himself within seconds. Rapping on an immaculate beat that somehow evokes feelings of Kendrick Lamar’s “How Much A Dollar Cost,” Llucky produces his best on “Deal Or No Deal (Interlude)". On a dark beat that has a beautiful guitar riff and incredible voice looped in the background, he excels. I’m in complete awe of his storytelling. He raps about his relationship with God and how he was close to selling his soul to the Devil. The song evokes amazing imagery due to his incredibly descriptive nature. His cadence is dark and his flow is up-tempo and incredible. The song is engaging as his mixture of flow, storytelling, lyricism, cadence, delivery and musicality leaves one mesmerized.
He follows up the exceptional song with “Honestly”. It is a heavily 808 influenced song where Llucky returns to show his lyricism again. He has upped the ante due to the contrasting nature following an incredibly song but it is works as an “album filler” more than a standout song. He follows it up with “TRML (The Real Meaning of Llife),” which plays out as the beginning of a new direction. Llucky raps over a slow instrumental filled with soul whilst a highly synthesized yet angelic voice rings in the background. The instrumental acts the perfect base for Llucky to rap about his love life. Llucky refrains from his lyrical nature and simplifies his content by just baring his soul. He uses a sombre cadence and flows with ease. His delivery is excellent as he creates the impression of his sincerity of his love. A male voice sings a beautiful yet soulful hook that matches the mood perfectly. His personal anecdotes are incredible and they elevate him musically. “Waiting On The 1” is impressively produced. It is a largely blues influenced tune that is heavily reliant on a beautiful piano riff but it utilizes boom bap rap era drums. Llucky continues to rap about his love life as raps but unlike his prior personal anecdotes, his cadence on the hook is off key. However, his verses remain impressive as he rhymes of what he has to do to ensure his “situationship” turns into an actual relationship.
“Good Enough,” follows. Llucky raps about his anxieties, struggles and ambitions. His insecurities are on full screen as he raps on a slow beat. He changes his flow numerous times as he speaks through self-awareness about not being “good enough” in various lanes of his life. He does this in a sombre cadence for most of the song until the last verses, in which his tone is aggressive and his flow is aggressive. In the last verse, he boasts of his ability and illustrates his confidence after leaving himself exposed. “Run The Town,” shows Llucky’s versatility. The beat is somewhat in the area of Meek Mill’s “Lord Knows” as it samples a legendary classical beat to create a heavily upbeat 808 inspired instrumental. Llucky runs wild as he boasts in that same Meek manner. He seeks to show his lyrical dominance and does so. He sometimes lack the delivery but he definitely performs at a high level. His wordplay is prominent and he puts everybody on watch due to his boasting. The hook is creative as it is largely reminiscent of the ancient times that sample attempts to mimic. Overall, the song is impressive.
“1 Day” follows but it is somewhat mediocre. Llucky does not illustrate his incredible lyricism, the content does not include a special personal anecdote, his keen ear for production is not on show and he doesn’t sound inspired. “Know My Name” takes a page from Kanye’s “808 & Heartbreaks” and KiD CuDi. Llucky rhymes over a beat that is unlike what we’ve heard to date. The production is heavily 808 influenced but it relies on the dark melody filled with diminished cadences. Llucky follows this mood by rhyming with an older CuDi flow and it is followed by another verse which is takes from Drake’s flow. His delivery is matches well with the feelings that the song evokes. “Came 2 Party” is an enjoyable. Due to its jazz-inspired bass line and hip-hop drums, it creates a sense of nostalgia. It is a vibrant song that can be easily played on a late night drive. The flow is ornate and matches perfectly. His cadences and singing act as a final touch on an elaborate “chill and smoke” song.
“A Good Man’s Outro” is a song which production wise – it utilizes Kanye’s “chipmunk soul” technique. It is well produced and acts as the best fitted song for the outro. Llucky essentially manages to bring the album into a full-circle as he manages to demonstrate his best characteristics as a rapper – his cadence, lyricism, personal anecdotes and flow.
Beginner’s Lluck is a good mixtape. It is thoroughly enjoyable. The replay value seems to increase after every listen. Llucky is an incredible artist. His ear for production is impeccable and he manages to create a vibrant feeling. Llucky’s delivery may not great at all times but due his confident, he appears as in control. His confidence is his biggest asset when it comes to his rhyming. His lyricism is sharp and almost elite. At the age of 20, Llucky seems to create a cohesive project that manages to show every aspect of his skill set, ranging from singing, lyricism, musicality, storytelling, cadence, delivery, production choice and content. His versatility is his second biggest asset as he seems to be able to perform on any rap style. Although his singing is not his strong suit, he ensures that is palatable through his cadence and it creates room for him to excel. If Llucky decreased the number of tracks and rearranged the track listing – the project could have been easily elite. Llucky has an incredible amount of potential, one that saw him perform at Homecoming (one of South Africa’s biggest festivals) and if he becomes more consistent with his musicality and word play – he is truly on the Road 2 Riches.
Soundcloud link: https://soundcloud.com/lluckylluck/sets/beginners-lluck
Final Rating: Hybrid