It’s great to see the precise and idiosyncratic Chicago rap stylist Valee back in action. Earlier this year, Valee broke a long silence, releasing the short LP Vacabularee, his first project since the 2019 EP Runnin Rich. Somewhat shockingly, Vacabularee was Valee’s first-ever full-length. Today, he releases his second.
On the new album Virtuoso, Valee teams up with the extremely busy rap producer Harry Fraud. Harry Fraud isn’t the type to go five years in between projects. Just three weeks ago, Fraud and Curren$y released Vices, an extremely fun album where Fraud went crazy sampling songs that had been used on the Miami Vice soundtrack. There’s no unifying concept to Virtuoso, but Fraud understands the kind of bright, minimal beats that fit Valee’s very particular style.
We’ve already posted the early Virtuoso singles “Vibrant,” with Action Bronson, and “Watermelon Automobile,” with Saba and Mavi. The rest of the album features a lovingly curated roster of guests: 03 Greedo, RXK Nephew, Z Money, and Chicago originator Twista. Valee and Greedo sound great together, and I really like the contrast between Valee and Twista. It’s a low-key record that’s over in less than half an hour, and that’s time well spent. Stream Virtuoso below.