On the ‘Carousel’ EP, Langston Hunter insists he doesn’t “show out.” He actually shows up and then some.

“Hard times, I hope they don’t ever happen again!”

Langston Hunter may be the furthest thing from what Houston “sounds” like. But what Houston sounds like is becoming less distinguishable with every passing month. It’s not about what separates “new Houston” from “old Houston.” Rather, it’s that artists aren’t being pressured into the Houston “box.” They’re trusting their sound, their difference, to resonate. It won’t connect with everyone, necessarily; but they don’t care so long as it connects with SOMEONE.

What began this year with the Britt and Syed Vafaqani-featured single “Tracy’s Car” back in January, has culminated in Hunter’s newest EP, ‘Carousel.’ And just as its cover art depicts a man traveling through the universe in a roller coaster carriage, so, too, does ‘Carousel’ invite listeners to join Langston on his journey.

Only twenty minutes in length, it’s hard to believe that ‘Carousel’ is nine tracks deep (technically, seven tracks, an intro, and an interlude of sorts in the drum-driven “Up Down”). But that’s because the project’s production is lush and cohesive enough to keep the energy consistent from start to finish. Caveman Zulu, Dirty Poncho, Kahlilthefool, Like, and LORDFUBU (who does legendary work on EP standout “On & On”), amongst others, provide ‘Carousel’ with the kind of aural landscape that mystifies and captivates.

As for Hunter himself? He relies on his high-energy delivery and his ability to incorporate melody to keep the ‘Carousel’ going. On “Mama I’m Sick,” Brandun Deshay’s keys will call to mind the piano that tiptoes through Scarface’s “On My Block,” but Hunter’s sing-song hook is catchy enough to stick with listeners. Sammy Silent provides a nice assist on album closer “No Man Is An Island/Running.” Yoady Yo adds to the gritty storytelling that belies “On & On.” And San Antonio songbird AMEA walks hand-in-hand with the rapper in a neo-soul-rhyme gumbo on “Lost At Sea.”

But the ‘Carousel’ spins because Langston is the conductor. Because he can stomp between the busy instrumentation on “Company” like a lonely giant. Because though depression reaches for him, Hunter shakes his dreads and outlines the “things that make (him) smile” on “TTMMS.” Because “Super Lango’s” stories burrow into the mind, and nearly every song is catchy in some way.

At the start of “No Man Is An Island/Running,” Langston Hunter chants “I believe in myself!/ Aye, I believe in myself!” With each repetition, the chants grow in their intensity. It’s the end of the ride – Hunter’s self-crafted ‘Carousel’ slows to let passenger-listeners off. But not before leaving them with the EP’s most important lesson: the “water” is coming and securing yours is key; but you don’t HAVE to face it alone.

Take a listen to Langston Hunter’s ‘Carousel’ EP for yourself down below. You can also watch Hunter’s lighthearted mini-music video for “TTMMS” below, as well.