The criminally overlooked Chicago emcee and producer Malci is here with his newest project Papaya!, released today. This arrives nearly two years after his last project DO YOU KNOW YOURSELF, my personal introduction to Malci and one of my favorite overall projects to come out of 2017.

Now he’s back in 2019 with Papaya!, which is an exciting release, as it heads in a completely different creative direction than his previous project. Production-wise, this project features primarily synth-based, glitchy and atmospheric beats along with field recordings.

It’s seventeen tracks, but doesn’t overstay its welcome in the slightest, clocking in around thirty-four minutes, following this many-short-songs album format that some of my other recent favorite albums have followed by artists like Earl Sweatshirt, Slauson Malone, and Lucki.  Papaya! ends up making for an extremely cohesive and engaging listen that only leaves the listener wanting more from Malci. There are some really interesting genre-bending soundscapes on here along with melodic and enjoyable production throughout.

“The 40 Oz Endorsement” perfectly encapsulates the record, as it features otherworldly production underlying Malci talking about thrifting a nice outfit, beating three Final Fantasy games, and shouting about drinking 40s “because they work”. The track “Byzantine Way” features a really nice instrumental that progresses impressively into an atmospheric but bouncy banger, and on “Tetsuo The Ironman”, Malci speaks on the ramifications of the internet becoming such an essential part of our lives.

While there is a departure from the soulful, sample-based production, Malci brings us into a new and heady world, with a charismatic presence on the microphone stronger than ever, along with catchy flows. His quirky raps, featuring social commentary and braggadocious bars, but also delicate and personable lyricism make for a very well rounded rap record. Enter Malci’s universe by giving Papaya! a listen below!