To say Ed Sheeran is one of the biggest current musical acts would be an understatement. His accolades and record-breaking streaks are unparalleled in the industry. Yet at his core, Sheeran is still the same authentic and earnest singer-songwriter he’s always been — just with the added-bonus of being a lyrical genius and a music aficionado. On top of all that, he’s consistently giving with his time and energy, especially in his latest collaboration with the similarly-talented rapper Lil Baby on, “2step.”

Many have tried to imitate Sheeran’s rapid-fire phrases and infectious acoustic guitar hooks, yet listening to “2step” just proves why he is the king at the style he practically invented. In addition to the ear-wormy nature of the song, Lil Baby’s new rap verse only enhances the yearning feeling evoked in the song — fitting in as a nice bass-y, laid-back contrast to Sheeran’s higher-pitched, desperate vocals. Fittingly, Sheeran admits that the song’s origins came from such desperation:

“Every song I did, I would send in and just get a lukewarm reaction. I went into the studio and just wrote about being really low on confidence and I think that’s probably one of my favorite songs on the album.”

Ed Sheeran’s raw feelings about lacking confidence and wanting his anxieties to leave his mind are epitomized perfectly in lyrics like, “All my troubles turn to nothing when I’m in your eyes / Electrified, we’ll keep turning up and go all night / Oh, we had dips and falls in our time / But we know what it feels to be low then up, alone in love / And all we need is us to go all / Night, night.” The words are backed up by the hip-hop-heavy beats and double-tracked singing for which Sheeran is known, and the song itself gets a slick, trippy music video whose performers and visuals match the intensity of the song — especially given the state of its shooting location, which Sheeran notes at the start of the video:

I filmed the video for ‘2step’ in the city of Kyiv, Ukraine before the devastating acts of violence started to take place. It was my first time visiting the country and I felt so welcomed during my stay there – everyone from the production crew to the many people I met across my days off. Ukraine is a proud and resilient country and I’m grateful to have had the chance to film my video there.”

Ed Sheeran will continue his “+ – = ÷ x” (a.k.a. “Mathematics”) Tour in Europe this coming summer, while Lil Baby’s third album is scheduled to be released sometime this year. Per Sheeran and Lil Baby’s request, all proceeds from YouTube hits and streams of “2step” will be donated to help Ukraine, so you should definitely check out the music video and listen to the single below!

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