OG Stevo Credit: Courtesy of LJ Productions

In the months since Rogers Park native Stevon Odueze graduated from Northern Illinois University in December, he’s been singularly focused on transforming his music from an undergraduate extracurricular activity into a career. And judging from the pop-forward hip-hop he’s released in the past six months, he’s well on his way. As OG Stevo, Odueze encodes melody into the DNA of his mike technique to supercharge his instrumentals—even when he’s not outright singing, he often ends his rapped lines with a honeyed lilt. The sweet, ebullient hook on February’s “Neighborhood Hero,” a song about departed friends, gives it an irrepressible joy that’s strong enough to make sure their memory lasts for generations. Odueze carries that energy into his latest EP, April’s The Last OG (OG Music Group), which packs euphoria into even its most sorrowful songs; atop the melancholy acoustic guitar and doleful keys of “Voices in My Head,” he unloads a tight string of bars with such power that it’s clear he can meet whatever challenges lie ahead.   v