Englewood-raised rapper Spenzo had planned to release his follow-up to 2013’s In Spenzo We Trust last spring, but 2014 came to a close with no new mixtape. Delays happen, and the process of tweaking and finessing a mixtape—especially one that resembles a studio album more than the traditional rough-around-the-edges (and, increasingly, old school) idea of a mixtape—doesn’t lend itself to a strict schedule. But during the past few months the MC’s been dropping tracks with enough regularity to suggest that his forthcoming Ahead Of My Time mixtape will come out soon. And Spenzo’s newest song, a collaboration with King Louie called “Effortlessly,” indicates that the preceding months were well spent.
Spenzo’s had a few other collaborations come out recently. A couple weeks ago he dropped a one-off with Tree called “Doin’ Lines,” which is built on the hook of Sunday School II‘s “White Girls.” On Monday producer King Kito uploaded “Make a Hit,” a song he made for 2 of Diamonds featuring Chance the Rapper and Spenzo that was recorded in 2012—it’s an interesting B side that shows how much these marquee names have grown in a few years. And about a week ago Spenzo dropped “Dripping in Gold,” which features (unfortunately) defunct local duo L.E.P. Bogus Boys and is the only new collaboration besides “Effortlessly” that’ll appear on Ahead Of My Time.
Of those tracks “Effortlessly” is the one that has my ear. That’s in large part due to the camaraderie between King Louie and Spenzo—they feed off each other like they’ve been inseparable for decades, finding the right place to insert their distinct flows and creating a sense of balance between their personalities.
Spenzo plays the straight man to Louie, who shows his wild streak with his gruff, fast-paced, and acerbic performance. Spenzo’s rapping, by contrast, is assured and sparse, and he delivers lines steadily and fluidly. The interplay between him and Louie works well with the instrumental, which weds a luxurious trumpet melody to a hard, skipping percussion pattern that’s reminiscent of Nicki Minaj’s “Chi-Raq.” “Effortlessly” is the kind of track that can only be made from years of honing your craft, but Louie and Spenzo make it sound easy.