Atlanta-born/Texas-based rapper King Khali has just released a deeply personal new project entitled ‘Before I Knew It’. A chronicle of Khali’s life experiences moving to Texas and encounters with felony charges in his past, ‘Before I Knew It’ illustrates a rare example of a new voice tapping solely into his own reality to construct a fully-fleshed out conceptual album.

Khali builds off previous aesthetics of his music to further prove that he thrives in the dark, crafting his most vivid bars over moodier production. Even on this album’s more upbeat moments, a layer of gloominess pervades, adding melodrama to the otherwise real stories Khali is telling.

His voice hits with the force of a seasoned veteran, fueled by a bravado that refuses to be questioned and carries with it a weight of certainty that could only be borne out of authenticity. Khali’s ability to speak from personal experience has a genuineness to it that’s refreshing. Instead of following pre-paved formulas for success, Khali’s in the process of chartering his own, and ‘Before I Knew It’ is a promising sign that he’s well on his way.

His efforts to incorporate more melodic moments end up paying off, leading to catchy, memorable breaks on tracks like “Next Man” and “I Get It”. His flows come through sounding fool-proofed, well thought out and detailed to match the trap-leaning production making for a natural fit. While he may not be breaking new ground production-wise, Khali makes it clear that his distinguishing characteristic is his straightforward, blunt lyricism executed with cutthroat conviction. When Khali speaks, it’s almost impossible not to pay attention.

Khali’s set out to accomplish something ambitious with the release of ‘Before I Knew It’, venturing to tell his own story in his way. In the process, he’s delivered an album that’s poised to draw new listeners in to hear what he has to say. Listen to ‘Before I Knew It’ below: