I get a lot of artists that submit content here at AAHH; I’ll shamelessly admit to a few things I often use to initially judge rappers: their artwork and their co-signs. These can help me to sort through artists who are next up, and artists who have some machine—or angel-connection—behind them. Vin-O is one such artist, sort of. I’ll admit his artwork kind of through me off initially, as did the title of his project; BUT, a cruise through his Facebook revealed that he had been working with Chuckie Thompson. For those in the dark, he’s one of the producers in Puffy’s infamous in-house team. His credits are intense, but “Big Poppa,” Craig Mack’s iconic “Flava In Ya Ear,” and Biggie’s posthumous hit “Dead Wrong” are among them. Naturally, I shrugged and pushed play.

Death Of A Poet, Birth Of A Gamesta is a thirteen-song project that has some of the same characteristics that a [traditional] bride looks for on her wedding day: something new and something borrowed. The album boasts a wealth of truly impressive production value, although much of it feels familiar in a sea of similar production. Not necessarily a bad thing—the project is current and can easily slot into most 2016 playlists with ease. Lyrically Vin-o seems like an old head; off the rip, he asserts the street shit that gleams through the cracks in the fancy new gentrified city of Washington DC. Through the album’s cuts like “Wintaz In DC” and “Bizness As Usual,” we hear tales from a DC-native that has seen some of the more insidious sights the nation’s capital has to offer residents in it’s rougher areas.

I felt his personality come alive—more so—on records like “Untold Tales.” That record specifically was packed with an equal balance of wordplay and autobiographical context; “An 80s baby still a baby in the crazy 80s, dead bodies had my neighborhood pushing daisies.” It’s when he focuses on first-hand tales of perseverance and social injustice, like on the record “G.O.D.” that you get him. Those aforementioned records had a different tempo/feel, as well. That actually resulted in a slightly different style that really suits him.

His music is quality—plain and simple. His vocals are crispy, and his cadence is unique. He’s worth a few listens—check out the album below and then explore his catalog.