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Rory Fresco - "Mad World" Stream

After several years of hard work, followed by a whirlwind nine months, Kansas City rapper Rory Fresco has finally released his debut project "Mad World." Readers first met Fresco back in December in our brief interview with the soft-spoken emcee and producer. The stars finally aligned in January when Fresco's single "Lowkey" was played after a new Kanye West song on SoundCloud, spurring posts from major media outlets and a healthy amount of social media buzz. It was then announced in March that Fresco had been signed to Epic Records -- a division of Sony Music. Until last week, Fresco kept fairly quiet about his upcoming work, only releasing one new song and a remix of "Lowkey" that featured G-Eazy. This 11-track "free album" is a strong debut for the multi-talented 18 year-old and could play a key role in ushering in a new era of Kansas City hip-hop.

The project opens up with a gutsy move from Fresco -- rock instrumentation. The title track and the third track "U Da Man" both feature guitars. That production choice isn't a complete success, but does set a dramatic mood for the rest of the album. Nestled between those songs is the slow-burning "Play Us" -- a tale of Fresco's exploits since his major label signing. Fresco raps about fielding calls from old flames, leaving his job and college, and finally being able to "hit the town and get a mixed plate" after his overdue success finally came. Fresco's knack for formulating ear-grabbing melodies shines through on potential night club hit "On The Couch" that seems to be a perfect pick for a Rae Sremmurd remix. The light, bubbling keys and "Hotline Bling"-style drums on "Average" put Fresco's pop appeal front and center and create one of the most danceable middle fingers to mediocrity of 2016. A majority of the release is spent flexing and recounting his come up, but Fresco takes a moment at the end of the penultimate track "Movie Screens" to remind fans of how thankful he is as he raps over a gospel choir sample. Whether "Mad World" is what will take Fresco into the mainstream spotlight or a subsequent, more formal Epic Records debut, it seems almost inevitable that the young talent will be a star.

Listen to "Mad World" in its entirety below.

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