In the wake of Chicago drill rapper King Louie's appearance on Kanye West's "Send It Up," it would have been smart money to bet that Lou was on his way to stardom. That's the way it's supposed to work, anyway—a big-name rapper gives you a co-sign, you ascend to the next level, you buy a bunch of completely unnecessary shit, just because you can.

This is a special case, though. Unlike Drake's cosign of Atlanta artists like the Migos, Lou is in flyover country—not Atlanta, where the Coalition DJs and strip clubs help set the tenor of popular rap in clubs across the country. (If the Louie-featuring "Pop Out" had received the attention in the South that it did in the Midwest, it no doubt would have been a much bigger song.) An additional disadvantage: Lou's appearance was on Yeezus, a great but wildly divisive—even derided, in some quarters—release. And rather than a Nicki Minaj on "Monster" performance—that moment where a rapper's entire appeal is articulated by a single exceptional verse—"Send It Up" undersold the humor and dexterity of his style.

But perhaps most buzzkilling was that his first release after "Send It Up" was the underwhelming Jeep Music. Compared to its predecessor, Lou's great Drilluminati, the heavily melodic, intoxicated record didn't really deliver what we'd come to expect from Louie. The sharp edges lost focus, the songs became formless and laconic.

Well, Drilluminati 2 defiantly brings back the brolic viciousness that has been Louie's stock in trade since early tapes like More Boss Shit and Chiraq, Drillinois. With brutalist bars and similarly stark, concrete-hard production, Drilluminati 2's rough edges serve as a counterbalance to one of hip-hop's most unique, distinctive rap stylists.



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