by Ed Hernandez
When the legendary Atlanta group Outkast said “The South got something to say” at The Source awards in 94′ they weren’t lying, nor were they claiming that it was only them saying it. The south had been giving us heavy, thought provoking music for years pre-Outkast and it’s only blown up since that moment on stage in New York. The thing was at that time there was a plethora of DOPE Mc’s/groups from various sectors of the south putting in work dropping great records, and often doing it independently (Suave House, Rap-a-Lot, No Limit, etc), and were often getting overlooked when it came to national attention from publications who focused more on NY/CA.
Enter Memphis, Tennessee MC & Producer Lukah and his newest album “When The Black Hand Touches You” which not only continues to carry that independent torch but does it with plenty of respect for them who came before, but also with a voice and sound very much all his own. From the start of the record the tone is very set, and Lukah has a voice that not only grabs your attention but almost holds you hostage and forces you to hang on to every line he’s spitting. At the risk of jumping around, one of my favorite examples of his ability to pull you in has to be “Black Coffins” where he floats over the self produced track kicking lines like “told your lord will watch over, should’ve done more believing, you’re laying leaking ask him why when you get there to meet him. Start your afterlife journey, can’t help but think of regrets, you could’ve lived to been different, you caused this meeting with death”. The way Scarface made it feel like you were listening to a movie is the same way Lukah delivers across the entirety of “When The Black Hand…”, And not only is he a dynamic and gifted MC, but he can produce his ass off as he shares a vast majority of the duties on this 16 track album, while the other half is handled by Cities Aviv (which was a dope surprise to see), along with Livin, and Hallow Sol.
“When The Black Hand Touches You” is an effort to highlight the very incredible lyricism and storytelling Lukah is capable of that sees him painting very descriptive pictures like on “Ammo/Pearl” where he transitions from dark tales about street hustling and the taxing efforts that go with it, all while working a 9 to 5, and then beautifully transitions to a song describing his love him and his girl have for each other and how equally passionate he is about serving his girl as he is about serving the streets.
Lukah has managed to capture a similar lane that Gibbs lives in (not that they sound ANYTHING alike) in that he embodies the energy and aesthetic of classic southern hip-hop while wrapping in all of the elements that many fans have come to gravitate towards in the independent scene in his production and delivery styles. Not only is this album incredible but Lukah is destined to be a name with a strong legacy.