“Everybody rejectin’ me in this industry,” raps south-suburban MC and 2008ighties crew leader Calez toward the end of “Heaven on Earth,” one of the finer cuts on his new Ceito mixtape. It’s a somber number, with Calez dropping religiously confessional rhymes over a sluggish boom-bap beat before cycling back to the chorus: “This will be the last sad song I ever write / After this I’m moving on to a better life.” For a few moments there I’d taken “Heaven on Earth” as a resignation.

Calez recites the song’s chorus so glumly that it stands in sharp contrast to the energy of much of the mixtape, not to mention his 2012 debut, Kid With Raps. The MC had long dreamed of making a career out of rap—in fact, Calez opens Kid With Raps with an anecdote about his third-grade teacher’s bemused reaction to his dream—and on “Heaven on Earth” it almost sounds like he’s ready to give up that dream every time he starts the chorus. Fortunately Calez’s gloominess appears to be aimed at anything but his childhood dream—right after he mentions his industry rejections he says, “I just let the energy they gave me help me grow up.”

I’ve only been through a single rotation of Ceito, but it does sound like Calez has matured as a songwriter. And he’s done it without abandoning his youthful vigor. Take a listen to Ceito below and if you like what you hear go see Calez perform at Reggie’s Rock Club tomorrow night.

Also, I recommend downloading Ceito through Soundcloud instead of DatPiff, which cuts the second song (“Reflections”) down to a 30-second sample. DatPiff made “Reflections” a “Snipped Track” as the site says the tune “contains commercially available content.” Calez isn’t too pleased about that:

Leor Galil writes about hip-hop every Wednesday.