In early 2015, Marvel Alexander told us that he related to Kid Cudi, J. Cole, Chance The Rapper, PartyNextDoor, and Tyler, The Creator. Each of those influences make themselves known on his excellent new project Marvel Alexander & The Pursuit of Existence, but Alexander takes charge of the record’s every aspect and makes it his own. He writes, raps, sings, produces, engineers, and handles his own PR/management.

The self-described “one man act” does invite talented collaborators like BADBADNOTGOODCrystal Caines, and Rascal (who helped produce Chance’s “Juke Jam”) into his world but he remains in control. This is his story.

“It’s basically a documentation of the journey I’ve had to take in order to find self-worth and purpose,” he told Hypetrak earlier in the year. “I personally feel like if you don’t actively use the talents you were born with, you’re just alive but not living. I’m such an extreme person where I feel like if I’m not doing what I love in life, I might as well have never existed.”

He guides listeners through his journey with equal parts humor and serious self-reflection. Some songs find the California-by-way-of-New Jersey artist rapping and on other tracks he sings. Through it all, he remains himself, and sticks to the album’s loose narrative.

“I’m not referring to existence as a state of being more so as a state of life,” he explains of the album’s title and theme. “In my eyes its possible to live and not be alive. I feel like if you’re not living up to your potential, affecting the world (small or large), and actualizing your purpose here on earth, you’re worthless.”

Listen to Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 via Soundcloud below and find a stream on Spotify here.