N.C. by way of The Middle East emcee Phase2’s The Boombox Chronicles tape is a new-school homage to old-school hip-hop.

You can always tell when an artist has a true appreciation for hip-hop. For Janille Tapil AKA “Phase2,” his love of rap began in one place and carried over into a passion once he moved elsewhere.

Phase2 is Filipino-born, though he was brought up in the Middle East (the United Arab Emirates, to be exact) and currently calls North Carolina home. A clear fan of rap music, Phase2 is using the art form to tell his life story and share the perspective of someone different. Though he released his first project, Crossing Borders, a year ago, Phase2’s latest mixtape, The Boombox Chronicles, is his way of introducing himself to the world at large.

Released back in April, The Boombox Chronicles was initially supposed to be just an EP, but after working on it continually, Phase2 opted to make it a mixtape instead. “The Boombox Chronicles is a collection of dark, gritty boom bap drums over minor melodies, that chronicle my younger years in the Middle East,” the emcee told Day & A Dream via email. Indeed, the old-school sound of ’90s hip-hop courses all through Chronicles.

Production for TBC comes courtesy of TrapKing, J. Rodriguez (on the smooth yet infectious “L.I.T.”), La Loquera, Rude Skillz, PSounds, Oldy White, and more. And the project is entirely feature-free, allowing Phase2 to shine solo over the twelve-track effort. The artist is an amazing storyteller (“Lullaby” and “Murda Murda” follow each other as solid examples of this, with Phase2 employing a sing-songy hook in the latter that conceals its sinister nature). But listeners will tell he draws inspiration from the culture: “Homage” borrows the hook from The Game & 50 Cent’s classic “Hate It Or Love It,” for example, and “Creepin'” pays tribute to Goodie Mob’s “Cell Therapy.” Though it’s boombap through and through, TBC avoids becoming repetitive by showcasing Phase2’s ability to tailor his flow to every single beat. For giving his international background a universal appeal and daring to be a fresh voice out of N.C., Phase2 has #ThePulse right now.

Stream Phase2’s The Boombox Chronicles tape down below. As a bonus, you can peep the video for one of TBC‘s standout cuts, the anthemic “What’s The Word,” down below as well.