Milwaukee MC Lorde Fredd33's

debut rap album,

NORF: The Legend of HBR,

is the most intriguing

and satisfying hip-hop album

of 2018 (so far).

I've been familiar

with Lorde Fredd33's work

through the MKE collective

New Age Narcissism,

as well as being one

of the few guest features

on Milo's LP,

who told you to thin??!!?!?!?!,

but this 15 song project

is my first time

diving headfirst into

a body of his work.

Fully produced

by Q the Sun

(who helped

with one of my

Sleep compilations

and whose music video

was recently covered)

the backdrops here are outstanding.

Nearly every track

smacks with dense

layers and hypnotic bass.

From boom bap

to trap to ambient

harmonies and plenty

in between (including

an organic and chanting

outro), it's all

made for Lorde Fredd33

to spit his truths.

Tracks like "Sanctified"

and "Possum Play" show

the eclectic landscapes

where Fredd33 truly blossoms.

And back-to-back

"True Indeed" (with Zed Kenzo)

into "NBN" (WebsterX)

might be the best seven minutes

of rap this year. Absurdly

hot. This is a dark

and grim project, yet

one still full of enthusiasm

and charisma and playfulness.

It's packed with autobiographical

narratives and

introspective philosophies.

The artwork really

hits the nail on the head.

Fredd33 can go in on

any instrumental and Q

seems to be able to create

any kind of beat.

I'd love to know how many

tracks the two made

together that didn't make

the final cut. This is an album

where you'll pick up

new lines and breakdowns

on the fifth, sixth, seventh

listen. It's dense, it's lyrical,

and it's bubbling with life.

The final song, the five minute

"Reflections", deserves its

own write-up.

This is a Midwestern house fire,

an armed robbery at lunch time,

a house party with a gun

on the dinner table,

a clean punch through

a Wisconsin brick wall,