Screwston, Texas

Y'all Musta Forgot: Le$'s Luminescent Settle 4 Le$ Vol. 2

"I gotta stay paid 'cause I like fly shit." -- Le$, "Gangsta"

There was this time where, on Twitter, Le$ remarked that someone -- a street tough, presumably- had told him that his shoes were ugly.

He Instagramed the right one. It was an Ice Cream sneaker, an explosion of colors and ideas from producer Pharrell's clothing line. Also viewable in the picture was a tall, striped sock and the beginnings of the right leg from a pair of cargo shorts. And that really felt like just about an excellent and easy condensation of his existence.

It's hard to write about Le$ without getting too philosophical. He seems like an actualization of the Internet's influence on contemporary hip-hop; rooted in tradition, but gassed with personal ideologies and anecdotes. He's the same but he's different; he's a rap isotope. And his latest tape, Settle 4 Le$ Vol. 2, a squish of horns and Day-Glo sonicism, is the glorious manifestation of the juxtaposition, a seeming ode to Negritude, were it bounded instead by weed tropes and a want for regional progressivism rather than race.

There are no moments where he hurries along, no moments where his presence can be rushed in any sort of way. He walks, WALKS, w...a...l...k...s throughout, pausing only to admire to his hair or Carlos Santana's affinity for meditative bridges. It isn't measured against anything other than itself, and even then it's only done so obliquely. Le$ is just as concerned with meritocracy as most rappers are, he's just noticeably more couth than most.

The tape sounds like right before the sun comes up. The tape sounds like new shoes. The tape sounds like fall weather. The tape sounds the way you feel the day after you get a really nice haircut.

Slim Thug, Killa Kyleon, Bun B, Chamillionaire and Paul Wall peak in on Le$'s galaxy with varying degrees of confidence, but none sound as comfortable in the cosmic aerospace as producer DJ Mr. Rogers, most responsible for the lambent atmospherics.

There's a bit in between the rubbery guitars of "Shut It Down" (Mr. Lee) where Le$, emboldened by Houston rap iconoclasts Slim and Cham, nouveau-barks, "Y'all don't get it, this [is] our lane, still gon' swang, still gon' bang."

Le$ is a Houston rapper. And he couldn't be anything further from the tired cliches that title has had stick to it.

Le$ is colorful shoes and a song he decided to call "Mothership."

Le$ is a Boss Hogg Outlawz megamonster.

Le$ is a direct advocate for getting high and an indirect advocate for saxophones.

Le$ is 1:30 a.m. on a Wednesday night.

And Settle 4 Le$ has to be considered one of the most enjoyable Houston tapes in recent memory, even if it isn't trying actively to be so.

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Shea Serrano