Denzel Curry’s new album, Melt My Eyez See Your Future, is unlike previous work, with a deviation in tone and lyrical approach. It has more introspective raps than past work, which focused on balancing a sound engulfed with nuances of past Hip-Hop sounds from Florida/The South and lyrical grit as he delivers comparative flexes–think J. Cole when he flaunts his education. However, Denzel doesn’t need to flex his lyrical prowess, as he has been amassing respect as an emcee and artist. Albeit offering technical consistency, it bears shortcuts in its production. While Zuu brought elevated and monstrous production, Denzel Curry matches its energy–it creates a product that offers repeat value to his other projects. Unlike Zuu, Melt My Eyez See Your Future gets built upon minimally, and instead, the percussion starts to take command as he keeps his raps centered and introspective.
It’s been odd. Hip-Hop/Rap albums are usually structured to keep a balance and style opposite a standard construct, which is a strong opening and closing while dwindling in the middle. Unfortunately, that consistency isn’t here, as Melt My Eyez See Your Future starts to get lost–each decision after “Troubles” seems to churn my head or leave me in a haze of mundaneness. The album begins treading down a stream of consciousness that focuses on style over substance. It’s especially noticeable with “Zatoichi,” featuring a very forgettable Slowthai. His vocals on the chorus get drowned out by these grungy electronic overtones that I had to doubletake as I thought I missed Slowthai on the first go-around. It isn’t rare for a single to miss, but it didn’t have the gravitas of “Walkin,” which lets instrumental play without an over-emphasis on its complexities–further allowing Denzel Curry to explore lyrically.
In past work, Denzel Curry’s talent for creating melodies is usually unfound as he has adapted it to boast his over-arching sound/style. Despite Denzel rapping more fluidly, he doesn’t stray too far from melody-driven tracks. “The Last” rides waves as he surfs through with hypnotic and authentic melodies that get buoyed by rich production. “X-Wing” parallels the greatness of “The Last,” with an emphasis on the trap sound with an uninteresting flow and tiring choral melodies. It’s a predominant issue with this second half, even with small moments like “Angelz” and “The Smell Of Death,” which feature production from Thundercat. Unfortunately, the funkadelic nuances and sick verse/delivery left me wanting more after finishing at 1:52. Though the way it connects with “Angelz” offers an uptick in an otherwise forgettable second half.
Through its faults, Melt My Eyez See Your Future has a powerful first half, starting with gut-punching drum beats and rustic jazz overtones on “Melt Session #1.” It embodies the atmosphere of the studio’s sound stage, which adds natural emphasis to his verse. Denzel Curry continues to stride with these remarkable verses that explore intricate themes, like life, religion, capitalism, and society, using his experience and emotional perspective to back it up. Though that doesn’t always equate to something great, there are still compounding factors that make his verses last or lost within the production, which is evident with the posse cut. However, this is Denzel’s album, and his work speaks higher on solo tracks like on “Worst Comes To Worse” and “Mental.” With “Mental,” you hear Denzel deviate in an open frame, walls get torn down, and he raps about his struggles with suicide.
There is a consistent surge of quality bars in Denzel Curry’s verses that keep you entwined, even when he slightly deviates from the introspective raps, like on “John Wayne,” a flex rap. Using John Wayne as a reference point, Denzel raps about why he sees himself with the same gusto John Wayne embodies in westerns, especially with the gun-totting skills: “Walk around the hood like I’m John Wayne/Nine on my hip, I’ma let that bih bang.” The track’s polished and eccentric production by JPEGMAFIA rounds it out to near perfection. Overall, the production is consistent, even when it envelops him and his featured artists in a shroud of load percussion. It’s a lot to reflect on, but at the same time, I hear the lost potential as it doesn’t land as smoothly as past albums, like the phenomenal Zuu.
Melt My Eyez See Your Future continues to tell us Denzel Curry is here to stay, despite his eccentric style. We get a flurry of great production and solid verses, but they don’t always acquiesce with consistency. There is consistency in the first half, more so than the second, which ultimately left me feeling underwhelmed as I listened to it.