Hello again!

Today we will talk about the album, a review on which should have been done very, very long time ago, however, I decided that it was better to make it late than never. Especially taking into account the fact that until the end of the year we won’t get any new releases and, moreover, good releases, we will return to earlier albums of this year. And it’s worth starting with this particular album, because it really serves as a very, very good example of good modern American hip-hop without any mumble, any stupid flex and empty emo motifs. In other words, I recommend the album to really anyone who missed it, because it is really enjoyable to listen and interesting to analyze it.

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So, this time it is Denzel Curry – an American rapper who became famous for the track Ultimate, or rather, the number of memes that were made for this track at the time. Unlike many different artists who received one-time popularity and disappeared from our sight, Denzel did not sit on the spot, composed and performed and gave as a result his third studio album called “Taboo” at the end of July of this year. Of course, since then I have listened to this album more than thoroughly, but for some reason I haven’t done a review so far. For unknown reasons, even for me.

Conceptually, the album is divided into three parts: light, gray and dark. Each of these parts describes the stages of the formation of Denzel as an artist, representing a fairly good approach to the biographical display of their content. And if you trace the content of the album, then at first we see Denzel full of anxiety, depression and various unfulfilled desires, then he achieves some success in his favorite business and in the final tells that the modern rap scene leaves much to be desired. In principle, this is not the most innovative framework in a hip-hop album, but it is really interesting. As you can understand, three cover arts for each of the parts of the album are available across the Internet, respectively, although the main cover is a frame from a clip on the Clout Cobain track, in which Denzel appears as a clown smearing his makeup over his face.

Musically, I was very surprised to hear this album for the first time. Honestly, I was expected to hear something similar to Ultimate and having 99 percent in common with the rest of the new-school rap. Therefore, when I heard really great rnb-style hooks in the first two tracks, I instantly remembered the Brockhampton Saturation and really cool songwriting, which makes the choruses memorable enough, but doesn’t make the tracks like “guilty pleasure” as tracks of some Lil Pumps or Tekashis.

There is a good and proper balance between rnb sound with boom-bap rhythm as in the tracks Taboo, Black Balloons or Sirens with swing grooves of the new-school type like in the tracks Sumo or Clout Cobain. At the same time, in the final part, with tracks like Percs and Vengeance, we hear an even heavier and more aggressive sound, which is supported by the same aggressive vocals and rapping.

Regarding the rapping here, Denzel doesn’t reinvent the wheel here, and here everything is also a triple flow and slow new-school patterns, but since the whole thing is balanced by the old-school rhythm in a good half of the tracks on the album, then all these new-school details do not make you bored in any way, especially in the first half album.

So yes, musically the album here is full of diversity, which is very well written and performed. Because of this, the transitions from lighter to darker and more aggressive musical pieces do not seem too abrupt and sudden. Everything is in its place and everything perfectly complements each other, for which thanks to both the beats and the rapping of Denzel.

In terms of lyrics, everything is as good as with music. For the flex themes, pretty good analogies and references are invented, which are understandable, but are not overused by other modern rappers. For example, the same track SUMO: “Pockets too big they sumo” or in the track Vengeance: “I go hard like Timmy, they wanna talk about me as Jimmy Neutron.” Again, referring to South Park and Jimmy Neutron, which are understandable to all consumers of popular culture, but they are really cleverly made. A similar effect was in the recent album Stokeley from Ski Mask, only in that case, apart from these references, no special artistry was presented.

There are much more artistic references that are visible to the naked eye. Black Balloons track: “soon, the black balloons pop, let it be the day the pain stops” or Taboo track “gorgeous beautiful taboo / you loving me is forbidden, loving you back is a crime”. The references to the fact that black balloons are a symbol of pain that surrounds Denzel, and Taboo is absolutely everything you want, which will surely be criticized by someone.

Plus, do not forget even the aforementioned biographical nature of the album, the apogee of which has reached in the track Clout Cobain, which describes an artist who was forced to become a clown in favor of the public and in order to remain popular. This is coupled with the final part of the album, where Denzel says openly on the track Percs, “With these dumbass niggas, and they don’t say shit
Sound like “Durr, durr, durr,” you like, “Oh, that’s lit”
” and underlines that modern rappers do nothing but mumble and rap about bs.

That is, as from the text, from the music and the general content of the album – this release really deserves all possible praise. Taking into account the fact that in the hip-hop genre there is not so much equivalent of strong albums this year that would sound mainstream and have a good message and content, this release directly goes to my personal top of 2018 albums. 5 out of 5, be sure to listen to it.

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