Track Review: “Stigmata” by Lukah feat. Boldy James

Dash Lewis breaks down Lukah's sharp turn from his established sound for an ominous boom-bap influenced collaboration with the Murder Mitten's finest.
By    June 2, 2021

Photo via Lukah

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Dash Lewis wakes up then spends his summer mornings getting annihilated on cold brew.

Fresh off January’s rugged, sample-delic collection, When The Black Hand Touches You, Lukah drops off a new single featuring Boldy James. “Stigmata” marks a pretty sharp turn from Lukah’s established sound, opting for ominous, mid-tempo boom bap over the noise-addled soul loops that usually typify his work. Layering spare piano accents and teeth-rattling bass stabs over clean drums, producer Walz crafts a track with enough open space for the two rappers to find their unique pockets. It’s not a flashy beat—it has the kind of junior varsity Griselda flavor relegated to the crew’s outer orbit affiliates like Elcamino or Grafh. In other words, it’s an effective head-bopper that quickly gets out of the way.

True to form, the Concreature opts to casually stroll in with a hyper detailed vengeance tale dressed in his usual understated rhyme pyrotechnics. “50 drum on my glock, Dopey-T ain’t bout to play/ clean him up with the mop, got OCD, I love to spray.” Lukah, on the other hand, kicks down the door and breathlessly raps double the amount of Boldy’s verse. He sounds hungry, invigorated by Boldy James’ presence and eager to break into a bigger lane. Lines like “catch me out in public blowing loud like Satchmo’s trumpet” whiz by and detonate after repeated listens. Clearly, Lukah is not here to play.

Though at first it comes off as a kindred spirit to “Scrape the Bowl” from Boldy’s 2020 masterpiece, The Price of Tea in China, “Stigmata” feels most similar to “Lay Wit Ya,” the return single from Isaiah Rashad. The beats on both songs bang in spite of their basic construction and both feature highly lauded underdogs. Boldy James and Isaiah Rashad each come with interesting and characteristic verses, but they’re outshined by charismatic Memphis rappers, Lukah and Duke Deuce respectively. The greater context of an album will likely render these songs more impactful, but mostly they work to set up a reassertion of Memphis’s rightful place in rap.

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