YFN Lucci has had an admirably active 2018 campaign thus far which includes releasing his debut album Ray Ray From Summerhill and dropping off a couple of EP’s. Looking to let loose some anthems for the summer, Lucci teamed up with Alabama representative and member of Boosie’s Badazz Music Syndicate, Yung Bleu, for a 10-track albumixtape titled Lucci Vandross.
Given the fact that they’re both melody-driven artists in today’s trapmosphere, one would be right to assume that there would be some A1 crooning over southern fried bangers throughout this tape. The opener “Project Steps,” makes for a strong intro as the duo raps vividly about the ills of street life and coming up in the projects, but only serves as means to justify their gangsta. Lucci Vandross, a nod to the late great R&B legend Luther Vandross, is full of sultry anthems tailor-made for the streets and sheets.
The production throughout is impressive, as the dark and minimalist instrumentals provided allow Bleu and Lucci to be creative with their melodies. The project’s best moments come when they are at their most simplistic in regard to songwriting, and allow their vocals to drive the record. This is best exemplified on the Future-esque track “Thugs Need Love” where Yung Bleu declares on the hook “I’m just a thug, I’m just a thug, I’m just a thug/I’m just a thug, I need love just like anyone else.” The vulnerable tone found here as well as on a song like “Favorite Drug” dominate the majority of the project. They hammer home the message that even gangstas and thugs need some lovin’.
Similar to Drake and Future’s What A Time To Be Alive, the final two solo tracks feature both artists at their purest musically. Lucci’s “Life of A Hustler” where he delivers reality raps pertaining to the hustler lifestyle and Bleu’s spacey outro “Beautiful,” round out the project effectively.
The duet venture isn’t without flaw, as the slower pace causes records to blend into one another in a way that makes it difficult for non-Lucci lifers to differentiate between songs. Despite this and some cringe-worthy lines here and there (see “Gucci On Yo Booty”), the similarity isn’t enough to derail what is a fulfilling 10-track effort that will surely satisfy their bases.
While it won’t go down as either rapper’s crown jewel, Lucci Vandross has more than enough RNS to get the action jumping when the mood is right.