In early 2013, Wally Left entered local hip-hop with the spirited single “Came of Age (Happy 18th),” where he turned the rap race into a struggle for survival: “I need a chance to fund the family off the talent that I was handed … but you 18 today/ gotta move out and move along.” The new Dodgers-worshipping World Series EP is a worthwhile eight-track exhibition of those talents, stacked with intricate lines plastered over the borrowed beats of Chuck Inglish, producer and rapper for Midwest duo The Cool Kids. Inglish keeps busy working with acts such as Chromeo and preparing his own solo debut with Chance the Rapper, Action Bronson and Mac Miller, but he would do well to pay attention to the Raleigh kid who jacked his beats: Wally Left might be this state’s next great rapper, even if he’s not quite ready.
His nebulous technique recalls the early work of Detroit emcee Elzhi, particularly the attention that the former Slum Village henchman paid to the details of his ornate and intricate rhymes. On “Crown Royal,” for instance, he raps with the pizazz of a young Elzhi: “You out your league/You need hits/Or you’ll be history/He’s swingin’ and missed/On that mission/It ain’t a mystery/Left just a local all-star.” He delivers words with a velocity that leaves smears of phrases across your mind. During “Keep It 88,” Inglish’s singled-out drums set the stage for Left’s opening boast”This is pattern and braggadocious”before the song swings for the fences: “I was Benny in The Sandlot/fresh out the sandbox/Swung and hit it outta the park to the trashman’s lot.”
He’s youthful and zealous, yes, and that description contains two sides: He has the heroic energy of a prolific writer, but he’s still working on the formulaic magic of a hitmaker. That’s clear when the project is suddenly interrupted by a minute-and-a-half a cappella workout, “Take a Bake,” where Left expounds on a cake metaphor already exhausted by Jay Z. World Series is more about evincing talent than making hits. But let’s give the kid a break: He snatched this EP’s beats off of the Internet and mostly substantiated them.
Now let’s see if either of these kids can make it to the major leagues.
This article appeared in print with the headline “Local nebulae.”