Photo by Maaha Khan
Chicago’s Stefan Ponce has spent the last couple of years racking up major production credits with the likes of Chance the Rapper (Acid Rap), Vic Mensa, and Childish Gambino (Because the Internet). That latter collaboration earned him a Grammy nomination, solidifying his position as one of the elite creatives behind the boards for the modern rap scene. Now, he’s stepping to the forefront with his debut album, The Boy Who Fell From Earth…, set for release later this year.
Ponce isn’t alone on the record, however, as it features a number of contributions from other artists. As the producer tells Consequence of Sound, working with all those collaborators wasn’t just about making a better album, but about making him a better person:
“When I started making the album I was just having fun making songs with my best friends but it became so much more personal than I expected. I went through a lot in my personal life making the album. I went through a huge break up, I admitted myself into a mental health center, but this album and the people who are involved helped me in ways I could never repay them for. The album is about self discovery, that’s why I called the The Boy Who Fell From Earth. Sometimes I feel like I don’t fit in or belong or even deserve to belong. The boy is from earth, you are where you belong.”
The case for Ponce and his friends belonging is made gorgeously clear on the album’s guest-heavy lead single “Super Star”. Rising guitarist Julian Bell and bassist Carter Lang (Chance, SZA) laid down the instrumentation to support Ponce’s funky production. theMIND added his punchy vocals to the first two verses, singing praise of his favorite girl: “If I had my way/ You’d star in every movie after today/ I just wanna see your face on the big screen/ My favorite super star, girl.” Michael Freeman of Awful Records drops in for soulful third verse, and the whole thing caps off with a verse from California MC KYLE. Take a listen below.