Sulfur is an emcee from Charlotte who was part of the group Thoughtcriminals alongside Mikal kHill. It’s been a minute since we got a proper project from him, with his last solo album, Re: Birth, coming in 2015. Now he’s back with an interesting project, The Wheel of Rhyme.

As you might have inferred from the title, the inspiration for The Wheel of Rhyme is The Wheel of Time series of fantasy novels by Robert Jordan. For an added bonus, Sulfur was able to land the narrators of the audio books, Kate Reading and Michael Kramer, to do the introduction for the project. After that short intro, you’re off to the races. Sulfur tapped Mikal kHill to produce everything, so it should come as no surprise that their chemistry is on point as kHill lays down some of his best beats to date, fluctuating between some soulful boom bap, some more aggressive trap, and some moments where it veers off into its own unique fantasy hip hop soundscape. On the mic, Sulfur is rhyming with ease and charisma, and with a good feel for some hooks that will stay with you and tie the music together. Most importantly, though, he’s up to the biggest challenge of making a nerdcore project like this, which is translating the source material as inspiration and finding your own voice and narrative in the process. Sulfur does this by getting into the world of these novels and really living in the experience of the characters and getting to the heart of their motivation. In doing so, he’s able to make some hip hop that will not only satisfy longtime fans of The Wheel of Time novels, but hip hop fans who have never heard of this series before. You can just enjoy it as a collection of dope beats and rhymes at first, and maybe you’ll get inspired to dive further into this world.

It’s been a minute since we heard from Sulfur, and he came back inspired with The Wheel of Rhyme. It’s easy to release a project like this that just works as a some fun fan fiction that you can enjoy on the surface level. Sulfur wasn’t satisfied to only do something like that though, and in the process of doing the deep dive and working with a talented friend like Mikal kHill, he’s given us a complex and enjoyable hip hop album that just so happens to be inspired by a series of fantasy novels.