George Young - Ventage

When he’s not playing the unpaid and unsigned sports analyst that the Houston Chronicle and ABC 13 News haven’t yet signed on Twitter, George Young still dabbles in rappity rap from time. The rapper-producer spent most of 2014 hiding in the credits of others’ work, ranging from OneHunnidt to Jodii B. Basik to EDF.

As the year winds down, however, it appears George Young has opted to remind us that he’s capable of doing more than a little damage of his own. Donning his retro Houston Astros jersey and fitted cap like a hometown superhero, Young put himself back into the booth to record sixteen tracks, the result of which come together to make up the rapper’s new FreEP Ventage. Keeping the features to a minimum, George Young recruits the likes of Mike Red, Rob Gullatte, KAB tha Don, K-Dogg, and JpenJail to assist him, though a good majority of the EP’s tracks – ten, to be exact – feature Young flying solo. He even handles a bulk of the production on his own, with a little help from Showstoppa, SwiffD, Mike Red, and more.

Ventage has at its core a touch of soul in every song, with hints at the nostalgic (as if titles like “AstroWorld” weren’t any indication) and old-school (see the ’90s-inspired “Streetlights (Interlude),” whose smooth finger snapping instrumental gradually morphs into a military march with subtle drums to match). And, someone should probably page Bun B and Slim Thug, because “City Under Siege” is ALL the anthem we’ll need for the Houston Texans’ upcoming football season. But don’t be surprised if some of the EP’s smoother fare, like “Favorite Disc II,” “Simple,” and “FlagMeDown” become instant favorites, the latter of which is great for these last few weeks of top-down weather we’ll have before fall breezes in. Stream and download it below.