In life, we’re all a product of our environment to an extent, and further, we all possess an innate pride and love for our origins, wherever they may be. Music often reflects this sentiment, as rap’s obsession with geographic location often yields thoughtful reflections of parts of the country that we may never visit, but can temporarily transport to through music. Proving this exact idea today, one of my favorite recent discoveries, Caleb Steph, is here with his highly-anticipated debut project, Bellwood Product.

Paying homage to the apartments where Steph was raised, this Virginia-minded EP brings listeners directly into the complexities of the budding talent’s world, as visions of temptations both good and evil constantly push back and forth from the opening seconds all the way to the album’s close. Throughout the space in between, Steph provides ample evidence of the lyrical prowess that listeners have come to know and love him for, producing an album of two central functions: first, to introduce Caleb Steph to the world and track the journey that made him the man he is today, and second, to illustrate a raw, soul-stricken display of the atmosphere and circumstances that we often aren’t exposed to.

Achieving both of these two goals, Steph’s debut is a perfect example of the power of storytelling, as he humanizes the struggles, triumphs, and conditions of a Bellwood Product. In my opinion, this is not only one of 2019’s best releases to date, but it’s also one of the best debut projects I’ve heard in a minute. Based on this EP, Caleb Steph clearly has a lot to say, so hear him out by listening to Bellwood Product below! I assure you that this one is well worth the time.