Though anguished lead single/album title track Crown of Thorns met a warm reception in the Booth, readers may nonetheless be relieved to know that its brooding tone doesn’t pervade Dilated Peoples vet Rakaa Iriscience‘s entire freshman solo set. In contrast, the album’s latest leak, Aces High is a gritty, hard-grinding joint drenched in Cali sunshine. Here, production heavyweight The Alchemist cooks up a soulfully chugging chopped-sample backdrop for rhymes by Rakaa and a few fellow Golden State elites. In addition to D.P. partner-in-rhyme Evidence, Booth-acclaimed buzzmaker Fashawn and Likwit Crew veteran Defari join the headliner to represent their home streets, stake their claim on the regional scene and, of course, wax poetic about the virtues of Cali kush (“¡Viva la cannabis!”) What more could a West Coast devotee ask for? For more from Rakaa and his distinguished cast of collaborators, grab a copy of his debut solo full-length, Crown of Thorns, when it hits record store shelves and online retailers July 20.