Jay2 Credit: Michael Salisbury

Saint Louis-born rapper-singer Smino taps two MCs from his Chicago-based Zero Fatigue collective, Bari and Jay2, for “Z4L,” the best song on his 2018 album, Noir. Jay2 appears at the end, caressing the track’s minimal, sexually suggestive instrumental with his firm flow and supple voice. He needs all of his well-earned self-assurance to handle the clusters of beats and unstable synths employed by Zero Fatigue producer Monte Booker, who also produced the majority of Jay2’s new EP, 4 Tha Wait (Zero Fatigue/Downtown/Interscope). The young rapper likewise sounds at home with the slightly bent production there, which Booker splits with Prodvxzn: on the latter’s “King Louis,” Jay2 uses serene, half-sung verses and taut, rapid raps to carve a groove in the wafting synth melody and peripatetic percussion, sounding both constantly in flux and completely in control.   v