In an industry where everybody seems to have something to prove, whether it be gang fights, incarceration, or selling drugs, G Perico is a man of his word. The South-Central Los Angeles emcee has lived the life that most up and coming artists can only fantasize about. For Perico, though, that West Coast, G-funk attitude is just another day in the life. He is a seasoned, urban poet, and has the track record to prove it. He’s survived a shooting, spent some time in prison, and, since the age of 13, has been strongly affiliated with the Crips. However vivid as his songwriting may be, G Perico sees the world in one color: Blue.

It's hardly a secret. The cover for G Perico’s latest studio album, 2 Tha Left, proudly boasts the color. In fact, each of his three releases from 2017 have sported a similar color scheme. Perico has made quite the name for himself in the underground Los Angeles rap scene, and, following his last album — which only came out in April — Perico has brought his name towards the national spotlight. Following the footsteps of his G-funk forefathers — Mac Dre, Warren G, Nate Dogg, DJ Quik — Perico brings about a cocky, braggadocio-filled manner to his songs. Don’t mistake his confidence for arrogance, though — Perico lives what he preaches.

Even for somebody who has a song called “I Love Thots,” Perico is still capable of maintaining a strong sense of earnestness. On the album’s third track, “Affiliated,” Perico opens up about the realities of death and loss: “The homie had a plan, now the homie ain’t livin’ / Ashes to ashes and dust to dust now / Down to beef with anybody, we don’t give a fuck now,” and he really doesn’t. Perico’s casual narrative of witnessing his friend’s death is striking, and, behind the blunted, G-funk production of Poly Boy, Perico is at his finest and purest. Slick observations are aplenty, especially when Perico gets political on “Amerikkka,” — recalling West Coast veterans Ice Cube and Spice 1 — rolling “I’m like, fuck a cop, fuck police / When you’re black don’t trust police / Them motherfuckers might kill you / Been like that from the beginning” right off his tongue.

This isn't to say that G Perico is a political rapper, but, when he does venture in that direction, he keeps it simple, concise, and slightly obstinate. That’s what makes it so effective. Perico isn’t trying to be something he’s not — or somebody, for that matter. All he knows is keeping it real, musically and aesthetically. 2 Tha Left also hosts some of Perico’s most evolved compositions, production-wise and lyrically, and is a early landmark for the jheri-curled emcee.

The album finds a man split down the middle: On “Send Her Home,” Perico and Curren$y find themselves in a hazy cypher, lounging beside a smooth, jubilant beat, neatly rolled and ready to smoke. Perico is displaying his honesty, letting his friend know his girl has been getting after him for some time. That’s the kind of guy Perico seems to be: truthful, blunt, and — need I say it again — real. Big name emcees respect (and want to work with) Perico, as well as his own crew of South Central emcees. He gets the best of both worlds, and, at the pace Perico has been going in 2017, doesn’t seem like he’s slowing down anytime soon.

Typically on a Perico record, there’s a handful of songs that don’t really need to be there. Finally, on 2 Tha Left, Perico arrives confident and at ease, spewing flawless rhyme schemes backed by production that takes you back to the G-funk heyday of 90s’ Los Angeles. Perico is fully formed, loaded, and ready to shoot off. Rarely has an emcee arrived to the hip-hop scene in such a controlled and specific manner. Perico sounds better with each release, building off of his past flaws, topping whatever he had in mind only months prior. At this rate, G Perico is set to become one of the best emcees of the moment, and, if Perico’s next project sounds even remotely like 2 Tha Left, I’d say we’re in for quite a run.