Credit: Khavon Thomas (@Khavon420)

If you like hip-hop that foregrounds reflective lyrics, sumptuous production, and a heady mix of youthful optimism and ambition, Kayo may be your new favorite emerging rapper. On his debut full-length, January’s It Was Fun While It Lasted (released via Kayo’s label and streetwear company, Southside Blue Hearts), he raps over relaxed beats built from dulcet keyboard melodies and spacious percussion. The music’s magnetic pull begins even before his rapping does—any one of these songs can hook me in just a few seconds. The arrangements are lush but not overbearing, and they feel carefully constructed to focus attention on Kayo’s understated, nimble performances. Kayo delivers his verses with nurturing warmth, as if he’s wrapping them in blankets, but every word still comes through clearly, so that the details can stick to your brain. Kayo’s friendly, easygoing demeanor also makes it easy to follow along with him when his lyrics take a big swing with an eye on the bleachers. On “Still Running,” he details his past challenges and big dreams, frequently leaping in time by more than a decade, and his storytelling is so vivid that you’ll feel like you’ve experienced his lifelong journey to the mike with him. Once you finish It Was Fun While It Lasted, you’ll want to know where that journey takes Kayo next.

Kayo Khaliyah X headlines. Senite and Kayo open. Sun 5/21, 8 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, free, 21+