The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

From underground to mainstream: Lucki

Artist Lucki’s rise from nobody to somebody
From a young striving rapper to an influence. (Photo from Wxllxxm)

Born May 30, 1996 in Chicago, Lucki Camel Jr. had no idea who he would become or the influence he would have on music. Lucki has been through everything from an underground Cloud rapper to a multi-million monthly listener superstar.

With his first song released in 2012, Lucki is no stranger to the music scene. With an influence from rappers like Future, Lil Wayne, Erykah Badu, Chief Keef and Drake, Lucki has been around music and has strived to make his own since he was a kid.  

Lucki dropped out of high school at the age of 16 to pursue his music career. He quickly released projects in 2012 and 2013 under the stage name “Lucki Eck$.” 

Lucki created rap in a more alternative trap music style known as cloud rap. The genre was popularized by artists like Lil B and A$AP Rocky, paired with producer Clams Casino. It focuses on a more ethereal-sounding rap style that leaves the listener in immense euphoria. 

What highlighted Lucki above the rest, however, was his expansive use of samples within his songs. Lucki sampled anything and everything from famous jazz songs to grimy Memphis rap classics. 

Lucki’s spacey, ethereal-sounding beats covered by his depressing, introspective lyrics, drew a niche crowd to his music. 

This sound was curated by Lucki’s own taste. He mixed the more ethereal smooth sounds of artists like Badu with the hard-hitting trap and drill noise and lyrics of artists like Keef. 

Lucki wasn’t afraid to talk about his everyday struggles as well. His lyrics deal with drug abuse, depression and broken or failed love. They are relatable, something the listener can use to grow closer to the musician. 

With the release of his 2013 project, “Alternative Trap,” not only did the average listeners notice his sound, but notable rappers and producers also started to adopt it.

Lucki began getting attention from rappers such as Playboi Carti, Rocky and other up-and-coming musicians. 

Throughout 2015, Lucki continued with his cloud rap sound and had songs with artists like Carti and Chance the Rapper. He was beginning to emerge out of the underground and into the limelight.

However, Lucki’s style seemed to change with his 2016 project “Freewave 2.” Lucki continued using the unique sampling but switched to a more trap and plug-style rap. 

During this time Lucki began to rap more about his drug use and depression over euphoric trap melodies. This sound was perfectly captured in his 2016 album, “Freewave 2.”

This era of Lucki was notarized by his more trap and plugg sounds compared to his more cloud and alternative rap style from 2012 to 2015. During this era, Lucki began working with the producing collective Working on Dying and the famous plugg producer MexicoDro

Lucki continued to be close with artists such as Rocky and Carti through 2017 but still needed a breakout album or single. Lucki seemed to always be in the background of everything and had not cemented himself in a specific genre. 

His peers overlooked him and he had yet to break out of the niche or underground rap category. With his 2017 album, he saw a rise in numbers with songs like “Poker Face” and “No Wok.” Lucki began to see success in his style and his fandom grew even more robust. 

Lucki continued with his introspective, depressive lyricism over the harmonious, hard-hitting trap and plugg beats through 2020. But it was in 2019 that Lucki began to have notable success with albums “Freewave 3” and “Days B4 III”. Finally, Lucki was having a breakthrough. 

With the help of the TikTok app, songs like “Out My Way,” “Sunset” and “No Wok,” caused him to gain millions of listeners. Lucki had seemingly surpassed the underground and started to have a broader reach than a niche fandom.

After the success, Lucki has released four albums and now has over 5 million monthly listeners. Artists strive to sound like Lucki; now, he is seen as a legend within the underground. 

Lucki continues to make his sound unlike any others and indeed his own. He continues to boast large sums of monthly listens and is now seen as influencing the younger generation of striving artists. His solemn, introspective lyrics and spacey, hard-hitting beats remain a staple of the underground scene. 

Voelker can be reached at [email protected].

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