Sometimes the ease with which Veeze raps makes it seem like he’s not even trying. When he’s beside more emotive emcees—like on the three-man weave “Making a Mess” with Pooh Shiesty and BIG30 or the glorious posse cut “Meg Thee Stallion”—his hazy, syrupy murmurs sound as though he doesn’t care whether the words make it out his mouth. But beyond this unbothered facade is an expansive skillset and idiosyncratic imagination. Early tracks like 2019’s “Rusty” and 2020’s “Law N Order” became instant pillars of the Michigan rap scene, with fragmented, unpredictable bars—“I mixed his juice, now his stomach hurtin’ like he ate Taco Bell”—that distinguished Veeze from more conversational storytellers like Babyface Ray and Peezy. Since that initial explosion, he’s released music infrequently, admitting that rap and fame just weren’t priorities: “I was trying to fall off.”

Luckily the 29-year-old Detroit rapper is at the peak of his powers on Ganger, the long-awaited follow-up to his 2019 debut mixtape Navy Wavy, wielding vocal oddities and chuckle-inducing, stream-of-consciousness bars. Veeze passes through varied production like he’s lazily window shopping on Fifth Avenue. He oscillates between laid-back joints fit for an evening smoke session (the penultimate “Tony Hawk” and dreamy “Safe 2”) and boisterous, percussive beats that could soundtrack a late-night car chase (“OverseasBaller”). There’s even a track that sounds like the Breaking Bad theme song, then kicks into a souped-up bossa nova rhythm (“Weekend”).

For the average rapper, this is treacherous territory. But Veeze is a Swiss Army Knife, able to adapt his scratchy, unrushed delivery to any environment. On the murky, GLA-produced “No Sir Ski,” he sounds like he’s underwater as he slurs his way through NBA player references. By the next track, he’s firmly on dry land, rapping with uncharacteristic clarity over an exuberant Bone Thugs-N-Harmony flip. Sometimes his vocal manipulation leads him off the deep end, like at the end of the opener “Not a Drill,” when he breaks into high-pitched shrieks, or on the standout “Boat Interlude,” where he and Lil Yachty sound like they’re impersonating Doctor Doom. The deviations inject personality into moments where Veeze could have played it safe.

Meanwhile, Veeze’s writing on Ganger feels like a direct line to his twisted thoughts. He bounces from one idea to the next, weaving through endless pop culture references, forcing you to pay attention to each line. His punchlines range from hilarious (“That drank all in my belly like Winnie the Pooh”) to uncomfortable (“Cup dark, had to ask him how much cotton he pick”), as if he’s rattling off joke pitches in The Wayans’ Brothers writer’s room.

Veeze will claim to want to be the greatest rapper alive, then spell his own name wrong in the next line. He will tease that he’s too big for Rolling Stone, then grumble about the pressures of fame. “I need the quickest way to get up to a meal ticket,” he raps in the third verse of a song titled “Unreleased Leak,” hiding quiet desperation in the midst of flexes and boasts. There’s a refreshing vulnerability here from a rapper primarily known for his blasé approach. For brief moments, Veeze also lets the listener in on his true motivations, the underlying drive churning beneath his too-cool surface.