A.M. Early Morning & Nightwalker deliver one of the year’s most tightly produced and well-written releases with L.N.E.M. III. The Chicago-based duo eschews trends—namely bloated track lists and meandering runtimes—with a project that’s infinitely replayable and packed with layers. It’s also just straight-up dope hip-hop that happens to feature some of the underground’s best lyricists, like King Magnetic, Little Vic, and Eto.
A major part of what makes L.N.E.M. III such a success is that it comes across incredibly relatable. When you strip away certain details and elements to these seven tracks, there’s a bare humanity lingering underneath. That includes the hustler anthems like “Holy Matrimony” and “Late Night Early Morning 3 (feat. Eto),” and the more somber moments like “La Historia De Mi Primo (feat. Otis Ghost),” a stirring look into the opioid crisis in Chicago.
The contrast in style works so well because it’s intentional. You can also feel the time and energy spent crafting each track, especially “Dusk Til Dawn (feat. King Magnetic),” which is Nightwalker’s favorite on the EP. “I made that beat specifically for A.M., Mag, and myself to go off on, and I got very personal on my verse,” he says before quoting specific bars from the track:
“I’ll always remember what my dead friends told me (rest in peace)/ I only kick it wit myself, it never gets lonely.”
For A.M., he’s particularly fond of the low-key slapper “Bape Sweats, Supreme J’s,” because he says it sounds exactly like the Westside of Chicago. “It’s that lavish gritty slang with the calm flow,” he explains. “It’s like eating a three-piece chicken wing with mild sauce on the hood of your f*cking car [laughs].”
It’s those details that make L.N.E.M. III such a compelling listen, and we only hope it’s the start of a string of collaborative projects from these two. The seven track EP is available now through all major DSP’s and on vinyl via Bandcamp through the duo’s Late Night Music imprint.