Young Brooklyn rapper/producer Kirk Knight is a member of Joey Bada$$’s Pro Era crew. He’s contributed his production talents and a few guest features to songs by Bada$$ and other associates, but he’s stepping up to release his debut solo album, Late Knight Special, next month. Today, he’s sharing new single “Dead Friends,” which functions as both a kind of origin story and a monument to the titular dead friends of his past — the track’s description on SoundCloud dedicates it to “Shamir, Steelo, Junior B and all the fallen angels we all lost.” The story of a young rapper leveraging his musical talent to escape a life of violence is a familiar one, but there’s real pathos there, and Knight sells it. The always-welcome bass virtuoso Thundercat lends some subtly funky low-end to Knight’s smooth-as-hell production, Chicago MC Noname Gypsy shows up for a hard-hitting final verse, and a searing guitar solo closes things out. Listen below.