Protect My He(art) – [Kiraly Payne] prod. [5HERIFF]

A week after teasing his new project with the single “By My Side”, Chicago artist Kiraly Payne has released his ‘Protect My He(art)’ EP in full. As a rapper whose style has constantly evolved over his past few years in the context of Chicago’s independent hip-hop scene, ‘Protect My He(art)’ marks the most deliberate shift in his music yet, materialized by the embedding of more fleshed out melodies and experimental production completely done by 5HERiFF while still coming through with a fair share of impressive rapping to satisfy Payne’s core hip-hop listeners.

Opening with the scene-setting “Hop In”, Payne makes it clear from the jump what he’s set out to accomplish with this EP. Filled with verses that largely relate to the EP title’s dual-meaning, Payne finds inspiration in his relationships, his own self-improvement, and the honing of his craft. Producer 5HERiFF (WARHOL.SS, Lucki) pushes the EP forward with his use of electronic elements and bright melodies that Payne’s able to match with his own vibrant energy. Listeners familiar with 5HERiFF’s more dark, trap-based production might be thrown for a loop when hearing this EP for the first time, but it seems the producer’s versatility thrives when paired with Payne in a way that allows both artists to make some of their best work thus far.

In my recent interview with Kiraly Payne, he mentioned that “this project is the real introduction into what I’m trying to do next sound-wise.” Judging by ‘Protect My He(art)’, it seems the direction the Chicago artist is heading in is a promising one.