Real hip-hop heads know what’s up: Valee is your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper. The Chicago icon has made a name for himself through off-kilter flows, inimitable flair and woozy, hard-hitting beats that’s elevated him to the upper echelon of underground rap royalty.
As he and Harry Fraud’s new album Virtuoso proves to be a masterclass of rap excellence (July 21), Valee flexes his undoubted respect and star power, recruiting fellow Chicagoan Saba and lyrical savant MAVI on the album’s second single “Watermelon Automobile.” Also featuring RKX Nephew, 03 Greedo and others, Virtuoso spans 11 tracks with tons of firepower from this deadly one-two punch: Fraud and Valee.
The refined chemistry Saba, MAVI and Valee possess on the “Watermelon Automobile” displays their personality to the nines, as hungry verses from the former bleed ever-so-effortlessly into Valee’s warbled cadence on the hook. Fraud’s beat is hypnotic and 808-heavy, stank-face inducing just seconds in.
On its lead single, Valee, Action Bronson and Harry mash creative minds together to create a sonically soothing, but lyrically “Vibrant” banger. This link-up is an immediate highlight for each of the trio’s 2023, with Valee’s recent appearance in his hometown during Summer Smash feeling like the appropriate prelude to this track’s release. The audible ease that Harry Fraud constructs instrumentally is expectedly fantastic — with the chopped soul sample matching with Valee’s artfully comatose flow like butter on bread.
Bronson’s verse contains the atypical bravado that only the “F*ck, That’s Delicious” host can harness, siphoning a mouthful of impressive bars into the song’s short length — which barely peaks over two minutes. It’s short in the best way, where you can throw it back on four or five times and not only never get tired of it, but pick up on a new sly verse or bar each time. It almost feels criminal for this Harry Fraud beat to be so swift, however, it makes it hit just that much more.
Perpetually rewarding hip-hop heads with each successive listen, Virtuoso isn’t trying to top the RapCaviar playlist or go No. 1, but both will surely go No. 1 in my playlist — and I know I won’t be the only one.
Spin ‘Virtuoso’ below!