Utkarsh Ambudkar – “Vanity” (Feat. Rafael Casal & Daveed Diggs)

Utkarsh Ambudkar has gained most of his recognition thus far as an actor. The Baltimore native has appeared in Pitch Perfect, The Mindy Project, Brockmire, and The Muppets; he also participated in Force Grey, a Dungeons & Dragons liveplay hosted by geek guru Matthew Mercer. (I actually wrote a little about Mercer and his scene here.) But Ambudkar is also a rapper, and he has an impressive new song out today.

Ambudkar actually initiated the role of Aaron Burr in early readings of Hamilton, and on the new “Vanity,” he teams with Tony-winning Hamilton alum Daveed Diggs, best known around these parts for his experimental rap group Clipping. (You may also have seen Diggs showing off his considerable mic skills in this commercial for the money app Zelle.) Also on the track is Rafael Casal, Diggs’ longtime creative partner, who worked with him on the recent Sundance film Blindspotting; Ambudkar also had a role in the film, which is presumably how these three guys ended up on a song together.

The lot of them deliver a thoughtful and invigorating look at self-obsession and the American racial situation. Paired with production by the Olympicks, it reminds me of mixtape-era Kendrick Lamar, which is a good zone to be operating in. Listen below.