"Fatal Lucciauno was born Rahmeece Chevosier Howell... he was born in Chicago, Illinois, before he moved to Seattle, Washington... as a child, Fatal dealt with homelessness, drug dealing, and a lot of anger... this is his story... all these events are true... parental discretion advised..."
So kicks off The Only Forgotten Son, the outstanding new album from Sportn' Life's newest face, Fatal Lucciauno. And right off the bat, Fatal connects the dots between his deep street pedigree and an upbringing full of poverty, pain, and disillusionment. It's easy to forget that so-called gangsta rap once provided the most telling commentary in hiphop, but Lucciauno clearly understands the tradition.
Not merely relying on a rep and a sneer, Fatal's confident voice and strident flow (which possesses shades of King Tee) crush a consistently ill sound bed of production from the likes of Vitamin D, D.Black, Brainstorm, I.Am.A.Dot, B.Brown, and Conman. His gangstafied lyrics touch on the expected topics, but with a discriminating eye for detail (check his skewering of corny rap convention on "Who Gives a Fuck"), surprisingly ill turns of phrase ("Rob Zombie sparker/Black Bob Barker") and an intimate understanding of the big picture behind the inner-city violence he willfully immerses himself in (peep the panorama of "Suicide Note"). However, he always makes sure the listeners are with him, often breaking the fourth wall to ask, "Do you get it?"
Fatal—with the aforementioned producers (among others) and a handful of great guest spots (including brilliant R&B performances from Darius Willrich, Zach Bruce, and Marissa)—has crafted an album that is totally absorbing and thoroughly listenable front to back. As the superior follow-up to D. Black's stellar The Cause & Effect, Forgotten Son just bolsters Sportn' Life's already ironclad rep for banging Seattle street hiphop and makes one look forward to their next release (the already buzzing J.Pinder); that's the kind of brand-building the big boys do. I won't even waste my breath telling you not to sleep. Soon you won't be able to.
And since you're up, I might as well pull your coat to somebody I've plugged here before—Seattle's own Avatar Young Blaze. Homie is back with The Mob Show, a murderous new mixtape, hosted by NYC's own Mr. "Is This What You Want," DJ On Point. Over a palette of uniformly menacing woozy synth work and stuttering Southern drums, Avatar goes harder than Han Solo at the end of Empire, painting his picture of street life's spoils, pitfalls, and, above all, grind, grind, grind. Sometimes all it takes is to persistently drop product, but Young Tar goes one further by coming with heat rocks every time—and you can check his last CD, the criminally criminal Point Blank, for further proof. How many times I gotta tell you... the kid is bananas like Chiquita. He's come a long way from the 12-year-old who was at battles eating up dudes twice his age.
Yo! Summer's here (such as it is)! Hot diggity damn. Of course tempers are gonna flare, so quick PSA: Everybody out at the clubs, out at the shows—be cool, my people. Don't fuck up this thing of ours.