After releasing The Ink Pen Method earlier this year, Zero Star is back with an eight song EP. For this project, he enlisted fellow Columbus native J Maggz to produce and rhyme on a couple of tracks. It’s a solid effort, and one that hopefully sets the stage for Zero Star’s sophomore full length album.

The production is solid, with a lot of jazz-inspired grooves that provide a platform for Zero Star to rhyme. The majority of the album has a bit of a laid back mid-tempo feel to it, but that’s not to say there isn’t an urgency to Don’t Look Now. Aside from the couple of tracks where the music is more aggressive, most of the songs provide Zero Star with the proper space for personal expression. He’s a talented emcee and there is definitely some clever wordplay on the EP, such as using the ‘72 Dolphins (the only NFL team to ever have a perfect season) as an extended analogy for struggling with the tough choices in life and what’s at stake. However, it’s his candor that makes him an emcee worth paying attention to. “Listen Up” is a touching message from a father trying to do his right by his kids. “#1 With a Bullet,” a song with a great horn sample that hits harder than most tracks, seems like it should be a braggadocio song, but is actually about how he’s more concerned with making a legitimate connection with his fans than making hits.

Zero Star is an artist that isn’t afraid to look himself in the mirror and report back to all of us on what he sees, good and bad. It’s this honesty that comes through on Don’t Look Now that makes it so appealing. Much like Little Brother, I appreciate how I can relate to the simple everyday struggles with them, and then link them to bigger issues. Now that the bar has been raised, I can’t wait for his next album.