National Music Reviews
LUCI = Willow Smith + Aisles
On Juvenilia, New York–based rapper LUCI releases major singles with music management company Don’t Sleep. She combines preaching lyrics with psych-punk and R&B beats, giving chills and energy as she layers her vocals and shrills to amplify her confidence.
LUCI sets herself apart by challenging the fundamentals of art. She avoids the typical, overused trap-rap beats and experiments with textures and sounds in her rhymes.
A constant theme throughout most songs is her need to flash this newfound power—songs like “Ash and Dust” and “Gnarly” give sensations of drive and killer instinct. LUCI takes a simple electric guitar and manipulates the sound to add unique textures. She projects her vocals to such heights that it’s impossible to tune her out.
Although LUCI is loud and proud from the start, she admits this conviction hasn’t always been alongside her. Things become soft and hazy as she opens up about the crushing weight of her depression and insecurity. She adheres to her booming chants, but things become less flashy in the background. In “Am I Good,” she simplifies even further with grainy electric guitar and a skipping cymbal. As for “Trippin,” she lengthens her harmonies and lowers her voice, as if looking down at her feet and shaking her head, questioning her path.
“Do You” had to be added to my playlists; it’s back to LUCI’s lioness conviction, yet it’s bouncier than their other flex songs. Her raps are shrill and raspy like she’s crackling, playful with a carefree attitude and not worrying about people’s opinions of her. “Do You” is more like driving around in a convertible with your hair in the wind, making haters jealous, while “UK Lollipop” is heavy foot stomps while clenching gold teeth.
This collection of tracks symbolizes LUCI tapping into her creative exploration. The energy is overcoming the doubts in her mind and pushing the norms of hip-pop, while the vocals represent her pride and love for her journey of self-discovery. LUCI’s Juvenilia is packed full of spirit-lifting vibrations and raw talent, you get lost in a meditative state listening to her lyrics. –Teddy Ray