Rising LA rapper Maxo (not to be confused with rising Houston rapper Maxo Kream, NYC electronic artist Maxo, or any other similarly-named artist) released the eight-song SMILE EP last year, and he since signed to Def Jam and dropped two very promising singles for the label this year, "Time" and "In My Penny's." The new singles see Maxo taking a noticeable step forward from the songs on SMILE, and it's clear from these singles that Maxo is poised for a big breakout this year. He's a traditionally skilled rapper with an ear for the classics as well as an ear for what works today -- the kind of rapper fans of Joey Bada$$ and Saba and Kendrick Lamar will probably quickly latch onto. Maxo tells introspective, weary-yet-hopeful stories on both tracks, and the warm, jazz/soul-inspired production sets the perfect backdrop. Maxo tweeted that his first EP for Def Jam, the 10-song Lil Big Man, will be out this week (3/15), and these two songs are enough to get excited for that. Watch the videos for both below.

More From Brooklyn Vegan