Breakout Chicago rapper Valee does a lot with a little. His voice rarely rises above a stately murmur. His beats establish a mood and then get out of his way. He raps about things that feel relatable in a way that is uniquely relatable in turn.
The G.O.O.D. Music affiliate is in especially fine form in his new song “Allat.” Over an eerie synth-driven beat by Ty Made It, Valee lets off unhurried bars about buying skinny jeans and spending “$500 on exotic Carmex,” seemingly referring to weed-infused lip balm. There’s something pleasantly normcore about his references, like when he brags, “I want a new Vette, I’m not lookin’ at Carmax.” Lots of rappers fall into the trap of describing a jet-setter lifestyle that revolves around the same tired signifiers; Valee has a totally different set of highly specific interests. Who else would boast, “I fucked up my Jeep, I fixed it with Bondo,” a kind of wood glue sold at Home Depot?
Sure, in the grand scheme of things, that’s a pretty modest achievement. But it’s delivered with a confidence that’s magnetic because it feels so specific to who Valee is—a trained handyman who used to do repairs at Chicago-area schools and builds koi ponds for fun. When he finds existential joy in little things, it’s easy for the rest of us to join in.
Watch the “Allat” video, directed by Hebru Brantley, below. You can catch up with his recent video for “Womp Womp” here.