Hip-hop is going through a lot of changes right now. It’s an exciting time, but with a wave of new ideas comes the inevitable game of follow-the-leader. Time and time again you watch as it plays out: one rapper breaks through with some great new style, everyone falls in love because it’s so unique, then six months later 10 other rappers start to sound exactly the same.

We’ve been hearing The ILLZ since 2009, and he’s not playing this game; he never has. While a lot of dudes are going electronic or moving towards that stream-of-consciousness flow and murky production, The ILLZ is sounding more crystal clear than ever. Over a sample of Temper Trap’s “Soldier On,” The ILLZ brings that powerful delivery, made even more cinematic by the lack of surrounding noise. No drums. No gimmicks. When’s the last time you heard this kind of clarity? A nice break from cloud rap, right?