Channeling the emotions that surround his life as of late, it’s all about “the music fitting the atmosphere” for the rising Chicago rapper — which now sees him experiment with a “darker” aspect to his otherwise jubilant soundscape. Building out the world he’s created since releasing his debut project, WE MET IN 2025 (2020), Lately couldn’t have come at a better time according to the 708-based emcee.
“I finally get to get back to feeding my people,” he said. “I had plans to release a lot of music last year but stepped back to really strategize how I’m approaching everything. I’m excited to drop [in this moment] because I feel like [Lately] is perfect for the [summer] vibe right now.”
Despite a runtime of 15 minutes, BKA wastes no time mincing words — packing a punch and leaving nothing unsaid on each individual effort. Ultimately “baring his soul” for all to experience, BKA convincingly raises the temperature on his eccentric, brooding 5-track offering — looping listeners into his thoughts, trials and triumphs more than ever before.
Touting conceptual undertones of “frustration,” “hunger” and “dark love,” the captivating wordsmith is outwardly in tune with himself, which is even more apparent on the EP’s versatile, introspective and energetic cuts alike. Simply put, there’s a bit of everything on Lately — lifting BKA’s sonic repertoire and ear to greater heights by way of his magnetic track presence and polished songwriting.
“This is me really giving my audience an update on what I’ve been on lately, musically and personally. When you listen, the aura and subject matter of a lot of the songs have this darker sound that I’ve been working on lately. I wanted to showcase different elements of that darker vibe like hunger, frustration, sadness or dark love.”BKA on the concept of “Lately”
Tracks like the previously released “Check” and “Enter The Wave” — which sees the Chicago wordsmith throw away his “Mr. Nice Guy” persona — entices you with a laid-back energy that blends sounds of a Travis Scott–A$AP Rocky hybrid. However, BKA possesses a star power all his own — riding each song’s eerily bombastic beat with both prowess and finesse.
“Loveline” is further evidence of BKA’s ability to craft cinematic cuts that are built to last — using airy, autotune vocal stacks to depict the void of emotion he’s fallen into. “Tell me you love me / Cause I need your love,” he croons with a sea of desperation and darkness behind him — feeding into the internal clash of balancing the love-torn wounds his muse has stricken him with amid the love he has for her.
“Gave my heart to a motherfuckin’ bandit
Cut me deep and now I need a bandage
Fell off in the club, looking for dancers
I am not in the place for romancing
She don’t want a good guy only scammers
But she tell me I’m far from the average
Said her heart is cold, so she on the low
She don’t know if she can take the damage”“Loveline” — better known as.
“Self-Care” — which is aided by his brother and fellow rapper Lemonxde80s — brings out a bag that only the Planet Brother collective can conjure. The track’s visual puts their enigmatic bond on full display, as the pair play off their respective verses in yet another carefully-curated cinematic expansion.
“HEAT every time!”, he said of collaborating with Lemonxde80s. “I think we’re so close in life and we’ve been doing this so long that we just have a natural chemistry when we create. We’re still getting better at complementing each other whenever we collab… I’m super excited for when we lock in again for a full Planet Brother vibe. People aren’t ready for what’ll happen.”
His penultimate offering, “Bare My Soul,” is perhaps BKA’s best and most personal offering to date. As a reflective, honest and passionate escapade of differing perspectives, there’s a fleeting 3 a.m. energy to the EP’s grand finale — mindlessly drifting to woozy dreamscape chimes while head-bobbing to an infectious, boom bap bounce.
Backed by warmly strung guitar slides, BKA focuses on overcoming the hurt he’s endured from every sector of his life: Friendships, fake sh*t and former flames among other topics. His raw talent mirrors the track’s open-ended nature, as he shouts into oblivion with no certainty of a response. Yet, it’s a soulful, intrepid and courageous call into the unknown that sees him draw back on struggle while eyeing stardom and success.
“It’s honestly one of my favorite tracks that I’ve ever made. It’s super personal. I’ve always looked up to artists that get introspective in their music, so I have to keep a place for that in my music. It’s largely inspired by my trials trying to find success as a musician while just trying to balance life at the same time — I wanted to let people into that a little bit. I know people may have not been in that position exactly, but they can probably relate to the struggle [I’m portraying].”BKA on “Bare My Soul”
Simply put, “Bare My Soul” cannot go unheard. It seemingly cleanses vices and allows listeners the opportunity to confront the silent battles they’ve been fighting from within. Lately isn’t just the blossoming Chi-Town star’s plot to show “growth, range and substance where it makes sense,” but implores listeners to “take what you can relate to and live with it.”
Making music that “serves as a soundtrack for people’s lives,” BKA harnesses his own human experience on Lately — setting the tone for future leaps of faith and “soundtracks” that last will a lifetime.
Stream “Lately” below!