Last week, the long-dormant Payday Records trumpeted its return with "Our Streets," an unexpected collaboration between DJ Premier and A$AP Ferg that marked the famed record label's return to the rap game's collective consciousness. Today (Nov. 8), the label continues its resurgence by announcing a partnership with New Orleans-bred rapper Pell.

Equipped with a dynamic flow, malleable vocals, deft wordplay and an increased understanding of how to produce his own music, the 25-year-old rapper's ready to take his craft to the next level. Although the underground stalwart was at first reluctant to align himself with a major label, wholesome conversations with Payday's A&R Adrian Nunez and a wish for a more solidified team structure helped convince him the label was the place to do that.

"I felt like having the infrastructure there and having people with specified job specifications definitely was something that I needed," says Pell, who will retain the rights to his masters in his new deal. "What really sold me was an A&R there—Adrian Nunez—talked to me and we had great conversations about music and his understanding of where I was and my career and what I wanted to do and what I haven't had at my disposal in terms of personnel and a team behind what I was doing."

With a new team supporting him, Pell, who's taken the last two years to learn the piano and guitar while getting his own extracurricular production added to the score of the Golden Globe-winning film La La Land, is prepping the release of his new EP, girasoul. The title is Pell's take on the Spanish word for sunflower (girasol), and, in addition to altering the spelling of the word, he's turned it into a metaphor for the transformation that accompanies the journey out of adversity.

"I was originally inspired by the colors that my music made me think of. I thought of yellow—more of like a marigold-kind of yellow. Not just bright and vibrant, but something that's like a kind of darker tone. Like maybe a sunflower that's like, on its way out," shares Pell, who relocated from New Orleans to Jackson, Miss. following Hurricane Katrina. "Afterwards, it kinda became like a parallel to the rose that grew from concrete and I wanted it to be the sunflower that grew from floodwater. It's kind of like a purification going into another type of sound."

The type of sound Pell speaks of is one he began creating and exploring after he went on tour. The rapper realized he wanted his fans to interact with his music in a different way. Taking a more hands on approach is his way of reaching that goal.

Returning home, the rapper born Jared Pellerin, began familiarizing himself once again with digital audio workstations while being more attentive in studio sessions and "collaborating with" music as opposed to "going around it." The result is a project he calls his favorite to date and the start of Pell 2.0.

This new journey makes his alliance with Payday a perfect synergy, as both are ready to show the world what they've got. So what's it like to be down with the label?

"It feels great," Pell affirms. "You know, the history is already there, you know what I mean? They were founded in the same year I was born. The stars have been aligned, and I feel like this was meant to be."

Fans can see hear the next aspect of Pell's artistic evolution when his girasoul EP drops on Dec. 8. Pell co-produces many of the songs on the project, which includes features from Saba and Vérité along with production from the likes of Bill Delelles (Billy Cigarette), Rahki and Imad Royal. The first single off the project, titled "chirpin'," drops this Friday (Nov. 10).

See New Music Releases for November 2017

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