Joey Bada$$ is another comrade in the cadre of insanely talented rising hip-hop kings. Tyga, Iggy Azalea, SpaceGhostPurrp, Chief Keef, Mac Miller, Azealia Banks, Chance The Rapper, most of OFWGKTA... the legends are being usurped day-by-day by sprightly upstarts with something to prove and more chops than a butcher's shop. At only eighteen, he can't even (legally) drink in his native NYC, but even so, he's spouting an impeccable flow that exceeds many of the big dogs in the rap game. His third free offering in less than a year, the Summer Knights mixtape, compounds that; Joey Bada$$ is here to take over the world.

He's not shy or coy about his talent - he rivals Kanye's ego on the intro to 'Amethyst Rockstar': "God knows, and I know God personally - in fact, he lets me call him 'me'." Produced my MF DOOM, Bada$$' high-calibre flow rockets through ebbing tropical synth waves. The percussion is taut, punchy and sharp; a perfect mirror to Bada$$' lyrics. His words just drip from his lips like he salivates gold; he's got razor wit like Tyler, The Creator, but without the controversy; instead of relying on offending people, Bada$$ relies on his lyrics.

The 90s thread that was so prevalent on his debut tape 1999 is still present here. 'Reign' (produced by Chuck Strangers) is lined with trance synths and caffeine-arrhythmia percussion; it's much more relaxed - instead of Bada$$ hocking his words into your face, he's slumped into a comfortable chair, waxing lyrical and pondering the intricacies of life: "What if I jumped off this cloud full of thinking aloud/ into a pool of my sorrow and start sinking in doubt?" The Navie D. produced cut 'Sweet Dreams' employs 90s R&B keys with abrasive sampled yells. Over the top, Bada$$ trundles down memory lane and laments growing up: "Sweet dreams stuck in the '90s/ '90s babies it's a matter of time, and time's not rewinding." It's not your average braggadocio.

Bada$$ has been compared to geographical predecessors Jay-Z and Biggie. All of them display a prowess that's almost unparalleled, but they do it in such a way that they get to the nitty-gritty of life by way of anecdotes about drugs and the law. It's an Omar Little approach - they've got intelligent, sometimes philosophical epiphanies dusted with the hardships of the Brooklyn streets. As has been popular with rappers of late, there's a wealth of introspection and retrospection; it's not all peacocking and pomp (though there's still some of that). Instead of being caricatures of machismo, they appear real and relatable. It's more honest. If there's one thing that Bada$$ showcases here on Summer Knights, it's honesty.

After the untimely death of his close friend Capital STEEZ on Christmas Eve last year, Bada$$ was understandably shaken. STEEZ was also a member of the Flatbush collective Pro Era, and they both broke out together, with STEEZ featuring on Bada$$' 'Survival Tactics' as well as releasing his own lauded material. An homage to STEEZ features on Summer Knights. '#LongLiveSteelo' is a pensive track, frosty beats and understated R&B synths march underneath the eulogy. Again it showcases Bada$$ fearlessness when it comes to showing emotion: "But how could I have done it without you though?/ You was the big bro I never ever had, you know?/ Why you had to go? It hurt me inside."

It's not all heartbreak and tears though. On '47 Goonz', guest Nyck Caution namechecks the Harry Potter universe - "This ain't Quidditch but you know the snitch get caught" - between threats and ruminations of gang violence. Sampling Dwele's 'Swank', 'Hillary $wank' sees Bada$$ rhyme gorilla with caterpillar and trigonometry with philosophy; he's quite the lexicologist. 'My Youth' is a reggae-inspired (Bada$$ is half-Jamaican) ode to weed - there's a many mentions to his favourite herb on the tape, interspersed with with intimate musings.

Summer Nights is a varied mixtape. There's a lot of different tones and shades on the release, flicking from the raucous and aggressive to the solemn and epitaphic. Sometimes his rhymes are crudely sexual, sometimes they're explicitly drug-fuelled. Sometimes he's rapping about deep issues. That's the wonder of this mixtape = he takes you through every facet of his life, from the serious matter he wants to preach to the puerile fun that any teenager indulges in. It's incredibly advanced for someone this new to the industry and an incredible exhibition of the breadth of his talent - not to mention his knack for working with the right people. The production is intense, and complements his words well, highlighting the mood of each track. It's a well-formed release, and yet another stellar mixtape to add to this year's pile of stellar mixtapes.