Like the hero in your favorite RPG getting that big level-up after defeating a horde of enemies, nerdcore lyricist GR3YS0N is doing it this side of reality. Libra Complex 2 is a major leap in his progression as a top-tier emcee. The beats are fresher. His flow and cadence are getting tighter. The verses are getting stronger. GR3YS0N is proving that he has no limits to his level or his rap stats. When his heart and soul are in a project, you get a banger of an album that’s a big level-up from his previous works.

Libra Complex 2 is the sequel to 2016’s Libra Complex, and GR3YS0N’s second major release this year, following the Vibes from the 545 EP from this past June. He is nothing short of a content machine year after year. He’s maintained a heavy creative workload, in spite of the fact that he’s holding down a day job and now raising twin boys. Most notably, though, his releases this year are of a higher quality. It is nothing short of inspiring to see this talented emcee keep upping his game time after time.

Nerdcore, but with street cred

Where Vibes gives you more traditional nerdcore content— songs that are deliberately about a certain character or broader property, Libra Complex 2‘s are more subdued. GR3YS0N isn’t leaving nerdcore behind, not even close. There are references aplenty, however, he weaves them in far more intricately. The one blatantly “nerdcore” track on the whole album is Beat The Game, where he and Mega Ran trade verses about overcoming tough videogame titles and the big bosses within.

Throughout the rest of the album, he uses his arsenal of references with far more agility and tact. They hit you out of nowhere like a ninja silently leaping from the shadows. This adds a brilliant layer to GR3YS0N’s storytelling. Instead of hitting you over the head with the things he enjoys just for the sake of upholding a standard, he’s able to tell you about why these things mean so much to him through the story of his own life. The journey the album takes you on is the finest mix of nerdcore and street cred you can ever expect to hear.

Modern and fresh

Speaking of street cred, the beats used in Libra Complex 2 have it in spades. The style is still distinctively east-coast, but not stuck in the 90’s either. GR3YS0N has found a way to keep his sound gritty and dangerous, but also modern and fresh. The first single, Lord gives off a slight Kanye vibe with its prominent synths in the chorus, then slams you into the chop shop as Gr3y spits razors, cutting down all his doubters. Tracks like Says Alot and Storm The Gates have unmistakable toughness but maintain a certain gloss and shine to them.

If you know GR3YS0N, you know he’s bringing the bangers. Libra 2: Scale Tips will get you out of your seat with its booming bass and sharp flow. All The Time takes a unique approach, heavily sampling something that sounds straight out of the Final Fantasy series. The track is an all-out battle anthem, with Farscythe delivering some of the best guest bars on the whole album.

Overall, GR3YS0N’s lyrics and flow are as sharp as they’ve ever been. Even if previous albums had small issues here and there, that is the one thing you can never take away from him. Gr3y is as talented a lyricist as anyone. His hunger and determination always shine through, and his work this time around is no exception.

Should you buy Libra Complex 2?

This album is, without a doubt in my mind, the closest he’s been to having a perfect album. The overall presentation is top-notch. The sound is distinctively east-coast, without getting trapped in nostalgia for a bygone era. GR3YS0N brings something fresh and new to the table and is continually evolving his style.

The only thing I find lacking is that one anthem— a defining track that the album can truly hang its hat on. Lord and All The Time come the closest to something as rememberable as G.N.A.G.or Miss Me. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that Libra Complex 2 is his best, most complete album to date.

I can say with absolute confidence, this album is a keeper. Don’t just stream it and move on. Buy it, kick back in a chair, or hit the gym, put your headphones on and let it rip. It’s an hour well spent.

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