Once again, we ponder on time. A few weeks ago, introspective 20-year-old Alex Bond shared “Carpe Diem 2,” a haunted ballad on how to spend and save seconds like precious gold. For his next single, the native rapper slips into a more casual cruise. Didi Crazzz mans the wheel here with a boom bap as smooth as butter, allowing Bond to ease back into his lucid flow. As before, our protagonist minces no words about his aspirations: “Hell is waiting for those who don’t show and tell talents,” he declares, and one can only suspect that he hangs that warning over his own head as much as anyone else.

While “Fade Into (Remix)” chugs along like a convertible on a Sunday drive, Bond still stops to ruminate on the scarcity of time. At the half-way mark, as he reminds himself to focus on “real life shit,” he marvels on a chance encounter with a friend: “Was just at Chick-fil-A, on break with my homie Naseer / That was the last time I saw him this year.” Back in October, Naseer Alwakeel was one of three teens who died in a car wreck outside of Meadowcreek High School in Norcross, soon after a Friday night football game.

“I didn’t know him too well, but well enough to recognize he was a great kid,” Bond says over email. “Always had a smile on his face.” Through this small tribute—and “Carpe Diem 2,” which Bond released in Alwakeel’s honor—the rapper makes the most of his friend’s too early death, grappling with mortality at an age when most youths still feel untouchable. It’s the kind of introspection one wouldn’t expect in a leisurely cruise, but that’s exactly what separates Bond from his peers.

Listen below.

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