You can’t say underrated west coast emcee without mentioning Fresno, CA’s Fashawn. I’ve been a fan of his ever since hearing his debut album Boy Meets World in 2009, and his mixtape Grizzly City 3 in 2010. He’s released a handful of projects since then including work with The Alchemist and Murs. Last month, he dropped his sophomore album The Ecology on Nas’ Mass Appeal Records. The album is executive produced by nasty Nas himself, so get ready for another independent hip-hop classic.

The Ecology had been in the making for several years, so at just 14 tracks, this album is living proof that it takes time to make a masterpiece. Hands down, the single “Golden State of Mind” featuring Dom Kennedy is the hottest track. It’s classic west coast beat meshed with the easy hook is what draws you in. Other noteworthy songs are “Letter F” which is a bit reminiscent of the backpack hip-hop era. The piano instrumental combined with the story telling lyrics on “To Be Young” featuring BJ the Chicago Kid is similar to what you’d find on an Atmosphere track. The album is packed with decent featuries from Nas, Aloe Blacc, and Busta Rhymes which makes for a good crossover. There’s not much to dislike about The Ecology, so 4.5 f lies it is!

Check out this video for “Guess Who’s Back,” which is The Ecology’s opening track.