Depending on your perspective, Taylor Bennett is either easy to root for or against. The brother of Chance the Rapper knows his status as the less-famous sibling but he’s not displaying a chip on his shoulder. Last year, the 22-year-old Bennett revealed he was bisexual. Even if he’s not one of the most prominent rap figures currently, he is one of the most prominent queer ones.

Resentment towards Bennett is understandable, though. His releases, like the new BE YOURSELF EP, can tide over Chance diehards who want something with a familiar flavor. However, no Bennett project has left any lasting impression. He appears comfortable with second place to the point of complacency. Tellingly, his most popular song (‘Broad Shoulders’) is a collab with his brother. Bennett wouldn’t be where he is without Chance, and it’s debatable if he’s able or willing to go much further.

BE YOURSELF does seem like Bennett’s chance (sorry, opportunity) to prove himself as not resting on anyone’s laurels. The brevity of the project (6 songs, 20 minutes) theoretically reduces the risk of filler, and he shows a good deal of gusto as the title track kicks things off. The handclaps and piano on the beat might have some forced ironic sunniness (much like the cover art), but he runs through his massive verse, successfully compacting his upbringing, Chicago roots, and identity (“I'm an outstanding Afro-American bisexual havin’ shit.”) without any hooks to break it up until Bianca Shaw wraps things up, in a rather on-the-nose fashion, singing about how “diamonds take pressure.”

Bennett can rap and sing a hook (like on ‘Hype Me Up’) but he tends to sound more practiced than inspired in his flow. The problem isn’t that he sounds like his brother. It’s that his songs sound like lesser versions of Chance the Rapper ones. His technical skills aren’t enough to hold up dud one-liners like “While you competin' with crabs in a bucket, I'm in the ocean” or make the Young Thug-featuring ‘Better Than You Ever Been’ feel retro instead of stuck in 2003 with its Allen Iverson and Pirates of the Caribbean references. Even a dab of Thugger doesn’t help when his would-be money line is “Tiger stripes on her booty, call her Lion King.” The hook of “It’s all downhill from here” on the steel drum-ridden ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll’ is a bit misleading. Things don’t get much worse or better. Instead, it seems to aggressively plateau.

This isn’t a flashy EP, but no frills doesn’t have to mean no thrills. Most of BE YOURSELF is as surface level as its title. The interlude of the same name on Frank Ocean’s Blonde says more with one voicemail than Bennett does across an entire release. The third verse of closing track ‘Know Yourself’ provides a dramatic peak, (“To be black's to be different, to be gay is to be hidden/To be both is to go missing, fuck the mass, I'm much different.”) but he’s ready to change the subject just as he’s starting to really expose himself, like he wants to give quick acknowledgement to intersectionality then dip out. Even if tries to look inward by addressing himself on ‘Everything I Can’t Handle,’ it lacks much in the way of specificity or imagery. (“Cause if you came from where I came, you in jail or you died/I like to light another incense and instantly vibe.”) Bennett also sees fit to end his rote tale of achievemephobia with paparazzi flashbulbs, just in case we don’t get it.

Pigeonholing can be a burden for a rapper of any kind. Whether they’re known for songs about sex, weed, politics, or something else, transcending reputations can be a struggle. But ambitious failure with authorship is far preferable to coasting on genericity. Bennett might not want to be known as ‘Chance’s brother’ or a ‘queer rapper,’ but the unimpressive BE YOURSELF suggests his destiny might just be ‘Taylor the Forgettable Rapper’