The whole “Chief Keef’s little cousin” thing was a fun selling point for a while, but I think going forward, it’s time to let it drop: 16-year-old rapper (and more often, singer of rap songs) Matti Baybee has very little musical common ground with his GBE relatives. His first tape, Young Legend, was one of my favorite Chicago releases of last year: a sweet but not sappy collection of Autotune-saturated teenage flexes (shopping, girls) that turned out to be fairly prescient about the then-blossoming bop movement. There were tougher tracks, too—never quite drill, and without cursing or violence—but they felt less essential, at least at the time. On its sequel, Matti seems to bristle at being designated “sweet”; on “312 (Intro),” the rappin’-ass, chest-beating follow-up to the last tape’s “773,” he rails against blogs who insinuated he was “Disney.” Even though he seems ages older here, and with more to prove, he’s still completely himself: it’s still melody over everything, even though the overt boppiness is significantly toned down, and the subject matter is still fairly PG by Chicago standards (though at least now he can talk about driving). The real signifier of how much he’s grown over the past year is his newfound knack for understated, sincere love songs (and choosing this instead of gratuitous tough talk speaks volumes about his precocious maturity); his professed love for r&b shines through more than ever, and he’s really damn good at it.
Highlights: “Somebody,” an effortless, Aaliyah-referencing r&b number over an elegantly sexy, almost Baroque production from Marley336. King Louie’s prominent features—he’s on three tracks, including the excellent remix of last year’s “Brag,” and he complements Matti far more fittingly than Keef would have (he’s got a similar knack for making love songs feel sincere but never saccharine).
WTF: To the person who inspired Told me stop using Autotune, but I got a million views so boy it’s working on “I Remember”: your opinions are forever invalid.