Denzel Curry hits hard. The rapper makes tunes for mosh-pits, tracks for fans to lose their minds to; yet he’s also capable of cutting deeper, an artist whose ear for production marks him out from the pack. Building a catalogue that is illuminating on a neon-drenched level and absorbing on an emotional plane, Denzel has a habit of switching between those poles, but rarely finding the correct balance.
‘Melt My Eyez See Your Future’ is an emphatic reversal of this, with Denzel Curry smashing through his central dichotomy and applying the balance of Medieval ninja. Bold, brash, and at times moving, the record feels unified in a way his projects have always reached towards, while affording the rapper space to build ever outwards.
Breaking with convention at every turn, ‘Melt My Eyez See Your Future’ is a helter-skelter experience. Opening with the emphatic one-two of ‘Melt’ and ‘Walkin’ the introduction is a pulse-quickening, lung-filling experience, with Denzel sending the needle straight into the red. There’s a punk-like disregard for the rules at play here, whether that’s the cartoonish braggadocio of ‘John Wayne’ or the introspective elements on ‘Troubles’ – the project seems to relish in portraying Denzel in his 360, contradictions and all.
The sonic palette is wider than ever, but there’s an evident kinship at work within the supporting cast. A record that finds room for Robert Glasper and Rico Nasty, Kenny Beats and JPEGMAFIA, ‘Melt My Eyez Sees The Future’ feels like a dozen lightbulbs going off overhead – the shock of the detail renders it raw, with cuts like ‘X Wing’ or ‘Smell Of Death’ stepping far outside his previous boundaries.
At times, the record can be practically lawless. ‘Zatoichi’ features the inimitable slowthai, while the beat recalls jump-up drum ‘n’ bass at its muscular mid 90s peak – a head-spanning, spine-shattering experience, it’s set to conquer festivals on both sides of the Atlantic this summer.
Closing with ‘Illassusions’, the album is a breathless, breath-taking experience. The true testament of a rap iconoclast, ‘Melt My Eyez See The Future’ finds Denzel Curry sitting in a lane of his own. A unique, unified experience, it’s a boundary-less work of endless fascination.
Words: Robin Murray
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