For hip-hop fans hearing $NOT’s “Doja” for the first time—a song that features the notoriously collaboration-picky A$AP Rocky—there were likely two reactions. Either they recognized $NOT from his appearance on fellow Floridian Cochise’s underground hit “Tell Em,” or they wondered who $NOT was and how he got A$AP Rocky on a track. Across the 14 tracks of Ethereal, $NOT’s third proper project, the South Florida MC attempts to answer the first question as completely as he can, and as for the second? Well, that’s probably as simple as Rocky having been a fan. And he’s hardly the only one. Ethereal features none other than Kevin Abstract, Trippie Redd, Juicy J, and Joey Bada$$ in addition to Rocky—artists likewise known to have their fingers on the pulse of new music. “Tell Em,” even, was a reintroduction of sorts, $NOT having first broke with “Gosha” in 2018 and also having scored a spot in the pilot episode of HBO’s Euphoria with “Billy Boy.” On Ethereal, though, the $NOT universe expands, the MC opening up about his demons (“My World [Intro],” “5AM”), women who’ve stolen his heart (“ALONE,” “Halle Berry,” “Fighting Me”), and even friends he’s lost (“How U Feel”). Vocally, he goes from the raw aggression we associate with SoundCloud rap 1.0 (“Go,” “BENZO”) to a vulnerability that allows him to sing softly over acoustic guitar (“BLUE MOON”), indicative together that whatever your particular flavor is, you’ll know exactly who he is at next listen.

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