Twenty-two-year-old KD Rusha started rapping in high school at 17 and even though he's not quite old enough to sound seasoned, he has been recording long enough to sound polished. His latest album, "Narcissism, the Death of Ego," is exactly that, a lacquered set of songs supported by sleek drums and booming programming.
He's out to kill hubris, and on the opener "September," KD lets the competition know, "I'm making these moves / And y'all still snooze / The h**s gon' choose," as he stays ambitious, blending motivation with healthy self-esteem.
There's the quick strike "Why," where he's in and out, rapping to a track that sounds like whales whistling under water. From there Rusha moves onto "Hudson," which finds him sharing mixed feelings about a lady friend a-top drowsy piano keys and female vocals: "Lay back for the ride / Or maybe we can just glide / Whatever happens though / Save it in yo mind."
He sifts though familiar ideas, women, aspiration, the desire for achievement, but he also offers up candid peeks into his process. And it's in those moments, like the pensive "My Side ll," where he reveals a bit of emotion.
"She could be the one I open up to / But instead I'm at the crib with a mic in my room / So I write letters to it / It don't say much back / But I be so glad to hear my voice back on the track."
But just because he opens up doesn't mean he's sentimental, and on "Tape Deck," KD is the voice of reason, giving words of advice to a wayward crush before rattling off a litany of snow-capped images on "Cocaine White."
He ends with "Monster," putting distance between himself and those on his bumper -- "Mad progression, ya'll still behind" -- delivering a final blow to vanity and a strong finish to "Narcissism, the Death of Ego."