Chris Daly hates to advocate drugs, alcohol, or violence to anyone, but they’ve always worked for him.

Alex Ludovico wants you to understand that drugs are bad, m’kay? Except when they’re good. And celebrity is a bitch that will get you in the end. Except when it doesn’t. As a concept album, I think I’m going to need to give this one a few more spins before I fully digest the message, or messages, as the case may be. That being said, as a showcase of Ludovico’s singular talents, the project is by and large a success.

The Chicago spitter is at his best surrounded by imposing bass and frantic beats, of which Fame Kills has plenty. Ludo has a paranoid, ravenous flow, and in an loosely linked storyline about the perils of his world, his style has an opportunity to breathe, growl, bark and linger in junkyards searching for scrap iron.

While the Illinois bandit has an impressive flow, tight cadence and a way with words, equal praise should be given to his ear for producers here. Calling on his longtime friends Sammy K, The Dutch, and Young Live, as well as PotW’s own Blurry Drones, the beats are Iron Chef supreme cuisine level bangers. Opening tracks “Ken Caminiti,” “Arcadia Lake,” “Killer Kowalksi,” and “Wendy O. Williams” are not simple trunk rattlers, they’re liable to crack your goddamn windshield with their low end ferocity. If Ludo comes close to faltering here, the slower jams, which are simply tornado force versus hurricane, are slightly more problematic for the young MC. AL requires a semblance of the walls crumbling down around him to fully get into his groove. When the tempo drops even just a little, and he doesn’t sound quite as starving, the energy is harder to find. Of course, tracks like “Charles Bukowski” and “Elliott Smith” prove just the opposite, coming in at a lower RPM, but landing gut punches just as aptly as the aforementioned jams.

For his sake, I’m hoping Ludovico has it wrong conceptually, or he’s fucked. If he keeps dropping beasts like this, he’s going to have plenty of fame of his own to deal with in the near future.

MP3: Alex Ludovico-“Ken Caminiti”
ZIP: Alex Ludovico-Fame Kills (Left-Click @ Bandcamp)

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