He's from Chicago — the notorious South Side, to be exact — rather than the traditional spitter center of New York City, and he is, along with a number of other youthful word nerds (and long-gestating veterans), pulling "lyricism" out of the codified pit of "real hip-hop" cliché and throwing it across every nook and cranny of the rap landscape.
Acid Rap (no. 2 on our 50 Best Albums of 2013 list) is an impressive, arresting display of furious styles, but it's also a well-observed and deeply empathetic album about growing up and trying to be decent — a good kid in a mad Midwestern city — whose songs inhabit a series of lost and half-found characters: wounded addicts, lusted-over high-school lab-mates, feckless dealers, a sweetheart dad, and young couples in love. It's got an open-eared palette of sub-regional sounds, crooned hooks, and vivid storytelling — one of those sprawling masterpieces you can't ignore. But a key element to its success is unquestionably old-fashioned, pen-and-pad writing and verbal acrobatics.
Acid Rap was also nominated for Best Mixtape at the 2013 BET Hip Hop Awards. On Datpiff it has been certified platinum after being downloaded over 250,000 times.