In early March 2020, when COVID-19 was still being brushed off as some offshoot of the common cold, Lucki performed for less than 200 people at the Bridge. At the time, the mellow Chicago rapper still felt like every fan's best-kept secret or the one artist they constantly tried to put their friends on. By then, it'd been years since Lucki had received cosigns from Pharrell Williams and Justin Timberlake, collabed with FKA Twigs and Chance the Rapper, and even flew to China for a short tour.
To call the trajectory of his career nonlinear would be an understatement.
Lucki's debut mixtape, Alternative Trap, was released to rave reviews in 2013 when he was an eccentric 17-year-old on the cusp of fame and a Xanax addiction. Rather than embracing commercial appeal, Lucki became darker, more insular, and utterly detached from outside influence with each passing project. For 2017's Watch My Back, the apex of his drug-induced isolation, he was forced to sneak into studios past closing time so he could record. Even at his lowest, Lucki's consistent output kept his core fanbase satiated and eager to spread the word about his talents.
Now at 26, his name is more ubiquitous than ever. His stretch of narcotic wizardry from 2019's Freewave 3 through 2021's Wake Up Lucki led up to the highly anticipated Flawless Like Me in 2022, an anthemic epic marked by features from Babyface Ray and Future, a major influence of his.
Last Sunday, an hour before doors opened for the last stop of the FLM Tour, a line outside of Revolution Live wrapped around the venue's parking-lot sidewalk. Teenagers draped in all black stood patiently as drivers braked on the adjacent street to ask, "Wait, who are you guys in line for?"
Once the first DJ set got the energy going and Eem popped out on stage, the crowd that was once on standby became a single mass of limbs swaying back and forth. For many of the teens in attendance, this show was the excuse they needed to release themselves and lose their minds. Tracks like "Just Friends" and "Awkward Freestyle," a punchy spin on Tyler, the Creator's original song, were widely celebrated and sung loudly as the Pennsylvania rapper floated across the platform.
Eventually, Lucki took the stage and kicked off with the bouncy vibrance of "New Drank" as pink and purple floodlights engulfed the characteristically stoic rapper on stage. His cold disposition never wavered despite being faced with thousands of rabid kids ready to go to war for him. His concerts are captivating for this very reason: You watch him stand in place and stare blankly into nothingness while the people around you lose all basic motor functions. For the unknowing bystander, it's a slightly eerie sight to watch.
Lucki's DJ, Killa Kam, served as the hypeman that harnessed the crowd's pandemonium. As Kam shouted out, "We get high!" from behind the boards, the crowd chanted, "We get fat!" in response, using what's become a signature remark that sets off the infectious "Unlimited." Days B4 III mainstays "4 The Betta" and "Go Away!!" rocked the stage before the bristling hi-hats of "More Than Ever" evoked a vast roar of approval.
Highlights from Flawless Like Me were embraced by the crowd just as much as the cult classics — the confessional toxicity of "13," the emphatic conceit of "Geeked and Blessed" and "Y Not?," and the rosy triumph of "Archive Celine." Not a single song went underappreciated for the duration of Lucki's performance, and the blissful haze of 2017's "Sunset" brought together fans old and new near the end of the set.
Finishing strong with "Faith" and "Randomly," the tour received a raucous send-off from South Florida's devoted Lucki fanatics. If anyone at Revolution was at the Bridge three years ago, they enjoyed knowing how much they've watched him grow.