What strikes you is that Lil Snupe is smiling. The late Louisiana rapper, only 18 when he was tragically killed last June, was known for, as his mentor Meek Mill put it, "spittin' so much pain." But the precocious Snupe was engaged and too engaging, too ready to hold court as the funniest guy in the room. Sound like anyone else?

Louisiana's surrogate governor, Boosie Badazz—of whom Snupe was no doubt a disciple—adds his voice to "Meant 2 Be," a single from Snupe's posthumous R.N.I.C. II: Jonesboro. The lineage is clear: When the younger emcee opens the song "Man I remember being in my cell getting awakened by niggas fightin'," you would be forgiven for double-checking the order of appearance. The simple pleasures ("Felt so good just to be ballin' with my clique") offset the bleak practicalities of being locked up ("ain't nobody writing"), and Snupe's contribution to the song stands as a thorough, charismatic thesis.

As for Boosie, he dons a chain with the biggest Jesus figure this side of Rio and drops a Technicolor verse about the flat circle of violence in Baton Rouge.

R.N.I.C. II: Jonesboro is due out Feb. 10.