If you learn nothing else about Reese LaFlare by the end of his self-titled debut album, you should at least understand he has style but no stylist. The Atlanta rapper and Two-9 alumnus savors his ice, Bapes, Gucci, and fleet of luxury cars, but as evidenced on songs like the aptly-titled ‘No Stylist,’ he’s not going to let anyone else dictate how he rocks his brands or carries himself. It’s this confidence that keeps bringing me back to Reese LaFlare.

Though not a new name in the trap scene, this album lets Reese make good on the fiery promise shown by the fiery ‘180Secs’ from two years ago, a Lil Uzi Vert diss track with Shakespearean levels of betrayal and shade thrown. "How you think you fresh, n----, when your bitch is your stylist?,” Reese pointedly asks as the track concludes.

A recent photo at a party thrown by Drake indicates that Reese and Uzi’s feud has been resolved or at least cooled down. But don’t think that Reese needs to have his sights on a former protege to make an impression. He doesn’t make an impression, he makes impressions. His debut isn’t exactly a concept album, aside from running through recurring themes of fashion, cars, and relationships. This is Reese’s time to try on as many hats as possible, and somehow, they all look good on him. He can be introspective but also nail a hook like “sauce on, sauce off.”

Reese’s willingness to experiment might come from his confession that he “basically got into rapping as a joke.” The Atlanta skater might feel like he stumbled into the studio, but he writes and raps with contagious enthusiasm. His flow is fairly deadpan and he isn’t one for lyrical bombshells, but his sense of timing is incredibly sharp. He knows when to cut a song off or when to shift. His taste in producers helps immensely, but he isn’t leaning solely on his beats.

He might not be an innovator, but he knows how to source influences properly. ‘Much Better,’ alternates between sounding like Future and several Migos songs stacked on top of each other, but it never feels like a hodgepodge and does more with one song than much of the bloat of Culture II. The falsetto he effortlessly slips into ties everything together. ‘Circulate’ is another song worthy of Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff but pressure to appeal to the top 40 means it might lose the dusty essence of its piano-led beat.

Conversely, Reese LaFlare shows hardly any indication of interference from anyone, least of all Reese. He has a “fuck it” mentality that doesn’t descend into apathy. The brief ‘YOYO’ with Smokepurpp (which feels like a sort of incredible fever dream where he and Smokepurpp are individuals but somehow part of the same whole) opens with “Hopped out my new Coupe” and his assurance makes full use of what might otherwise reek of cliché. Tropes in any genre are only a burden if the artist seems them as such. Reese isn’t talking about cars because he thinks he’s supposed to. He’s talking about cars because he damn well wants to.

Serious but not sanctimonious and lighthearted but not frivolous, Reese LaFlare finds room for both the somber opener ‘Escalators,’ with crunchy, 8-bit-esque production and a flow not entirely dissimilar from Danny Brown’s more depressed numbers (along with its tribute to Outkast’s ‘Elevators’) and ‘Sweet,’ which lays the candy as sex metaphor thicker than bubblegum smothered in caramel, but Reese somehow justifies its existence or at least makes it enjoyable when it could’ve been insufferable. He might want a more consistent tone on future albums, but nothing here sticks out as not belonging. The only possible exception is ‘Nosebleeds,’ a decent Young Thug collaboration, but one that feels like a Young Thug track has crashed into the album and Reese has had to cede control temporarily.

Reese has much better chemistry with Young Bans, who appears on two tracks and provides levity without coming across as desperate for attention. The transition from Reese to Gunna’s verse on ‘Drip Like That,’ is so smooth, it might take you a second to realize someone else is on the mic. The best feature though, comes from the biggest name on possibly the best track. Penultimate cut ‘Mood Ring’ starts off with Arca-esque urgency, switches the beat up, and then finds Pusha T. King Push doesn’t simply arrive at the track. He puts on the lure and reels it in with extreme prejudice. While he seems to giving his support to Reese and the “new generation, weirdo n----s,” his terse verse serves as a cautionary reminder that respect is earned, not given.

Those who feel the need to boast about not caring about what others think can’t hide their insecurity. Reese LaFlare is mindful of his reputation, but his songs aren’t restricted by hesitation or second-guessing. As his sound and versatility grow, hopefully his reputation will too.