Once thought to be a ringer for Nas, Your Old Droog is stepping into his own as a rising emcee. In a short span of time and through his musical output thus far, the Brooklyn rapper has culled a strong following. A penchant for organic storytelling through dense lyricism and shrewd punchlines result in compelling earthbound narratives. With tracks like 42 (Forty Deuce), which plays off the colloquialisms of New York City, and Basketball & Seinfeld exhibit his jocular inventiveness while meshing together references that are overt and obscure.

His sophomore LP, PACKS is a marginal segue from his excellent debut (one of my favorite records from 2014). Centered around a sampling of a dusty rhythm, the anti-inspirational You Can Do It! (Give Up) peddles harsh realizations and fizzled dreams. Broken up into vignettes that peer into the journeys of three lives. Delving into the lives of a washed NBA prospect, an aspiring model who took the wrong route to fame, and a struggling rapper. Droog’s meticulously drafted verses are potent and immersive, allowing us to live through these three stories that could very well be our own situation in a metaphorical sense.

Cereal Pairing: Reese’s Puff