Leikeli47 Credit: Nikko La Mere

Rapper Leikeli47 grew up in the borough of Brooklyn and the state of Virginia and considers both to be her home turf, but her recent second album and major-label debut, Acrylic (RCA/Hardcover), evokes the sounds of black life throughout the U.S. She references historically black universities and colleges, samples ballroom-culture legend MC Debra, and borrows from heat-stricken gospel, raw dancehall, placid neosoul, blustery NYC radio rap, menacing trap, and an upbeat bricolage of feel-good pop. Leikeli’s limber voice and liquid flow help make sense of Acrylic’s voluminous run-time and panoply of distinctive instrumentals. Each song highlights a different aspect of her personality, and as a whole the album suggests there’s much more to her than what she’s shared so far—on “Hoyt and Schermerhorn” she shows off her romantic side, and on “Post That” she bursts out with boisterous pride. Leikeli never seems to appear in public without first covering her face—she’s fond of balaclavas and of bandanas modified with holes for her eyes and mouth. It’s easy to fixate on her disguises, but I can’t blame her for wanting to take drastic measures to prevent others from defining her by her looks—that way she can focus on showing the world what it really means to be Leikeli.   v