We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Standout Track: No. 12, the intensely personal “Pulling Away,” which the Fort Washington, Md., rapper wrote and recorded several months after his wife said she wanted to end their marriage. Over a maudlin beat, Noyeek contemplates the implications: “You been my baby since the late ’90s/It’s difficult for me to put all them years behind me.” The song’s producer, Theory (Noyeek’s partner in the trio The Package, which also includes rapper Dimensions), sings a hook worthy of Ronald Isley: “And you’re pullin’ away from me/And it’s more than I can take.”

Musical Motivation: Noyeek says his wife initiated the breakup shortly after Christmas 2010, claiming she was “out of love.” In June 2011, he was in the studio with Theory, who dug out the song’s basic track, a chopped-up version of a beat from Britain’s DJ Kingstun. “I was like, ‘Man, I always wanted to do something to that beat, I just didn’t know what,”’ Noyeek says. “And [Theory] starts singin’ the hook, and I’m like, ‘Yo, I’ve got these four bars that I started writin’, but they’re stalled.’ He played the track and the hook again, and I sat down right there and I wrote the entire song within probably like 45 minutes, not even.”

Still Pulling: Although the situation has been difficult and perplexing at times, Noyeek says he and his wife still communicate regularly, and she has heard the song. “She said it was nice. I don’t know if she really listened to it, for real,” he says. “I actually had the opportunity to say pieces of the song in front of her, because, you know, we don’t hate each other.” They live apart, but they’re not legally separated yet. “I’m just takin’ my time in the process,” Noyeek says.