In the run-up to the release of his latest mixture New York city rapper Le1f gave us a taste of things to come in the form of 'Damn Son'. Its cool, swaggering arrogance taps directly into something unique in the Internet generation - the chance that at any moment you might stumble across something new, something outside of the mainstream, something that'll make your friends sit up and say 'Damn, where'd you find this?' Le1f is one such artist. His debut mixtape, Dark York, was an intoxicating mix of witchy beats and whip smart lyrics that were funny, insightful and subverted the homophobia often present in hip-hop. Its follow-up, Fly Zone, had more of an EDM inspiration, yet retained the brilliantly observed rhymes and sharp focus.

Tree House is perhaps Le1f's most seductive work and in the context of the record 'Damn Son's tale of a nightclub flirtation is brought to the fore. This record is, save for a few exceptions, mellower than its predecessors and has more of a 90s R&B vibe. From start to finish this is an album of slow sensual jams and smooth beats. As with previous releases, production duties are divided between a number of collaborators such as Broody, The Shy Guy, Faulty DL and The Drum, but it's clear the vision and direction is all Le1f's.

Things get started with 'Plush', all soft beats and deep bass swells underneath a piano loop. Sexual tension bubbles throughout as Le1f sings "we inching like sofas / we inching like couches." It's a strong indication of what's to follow with the next two tracks 'Cane Sugar' and 'Hush Bb' featuring a similar use of woozy beats and short looped samples forming the key instrumentation. Both tracks also see Le1f using auto-tune and occasionally singing as opposed to rapping. It makes for a trippy, teasing introduction to the album, with 'Hush Bb's vocals in particular delivered with such simmering sexuality that you can't help but find yourself being pulled into the world Le1f's creating.

The rest of Tree House follows this pattern and rather than pulling wild tonal shifts or changes in musical direction halfway through the album, Le1f instead takes a much more subtle approach to giving each track its own individuality. 'Hibiscus', one of many stand-out tracks, features a wonderful yet complex percussive backing that's really unlike anything you're likely to hear on another rap record. Faulty DL also injects his own influence into 'Jack' with a chorus refrain that has a strong leaning towards house music, yet fits in perfectly with the smooth R&B on offer throughout the album. Elsewhere there are hints of other dance styles and nightclub staples like dubstep and electronica. This creates a similar 'post-club' aesthetic as that produced by artists like James Blake and Lapalux, and helps to make Tree House all the more sensual, sexy and seductive.

Lyrically Le1f continues to excel on Tree House. There might be no explosive, speed-of-light verses like 'Wut' on Dark York, but his scope, humour and control of a verse is excellent throughout. The clanging 'Free Kiki', probably the most grandiose track here, references the New York Ballroom community - an LGBT subculture with a focus on drag, dance and vogue. As well as the double meaning within the song - Kiki allows the LGBT community of New York to be completely free, whilst Le1f also raps about wanting to "get freaky" - the song also focuses on the nostalgia of lovers and trysts past. The opening line to 'Swerve', "freak me like you want to girl / I don't give a damn about the bee and birds," is not only a sexual invitation but also something of a statement of intent for Le1f's music.

On Tree House, and Le1f's other releases, he's consistently shown himself to be ahead of the rest of the rap scene musically and lyrically. It is certainly possible to draw references to other styles and genres from his music - 'Hibiscus' is reminiscent of Flying Lotus electronica and there are elements of trap music in the beats - but the way he creates music and merges styles musical, cultural and aesthetic produces something completely new and exciting. Artists like Le1f deserve to be heard because they're busy establishing the future direction of music. If you've made it this far without having heard Le1f I strongly advise you get listening right now. Seriously, stop whatever it is your doing right now, I don't care if you're working or twerking, just expose yourself to the future.