Denzel Curry has always had a deft hand for balancing braggadocio and vulnerability, confidence and self-doubt. Despite the range of styles he’s employed, he’s never failed to satisfy. With his new album, Melt My Eyez See Your Future, Curry once again shows a knack for the kind of evocative songwriting that’s made him one of rap’s most inventive artists.
There’s a momentum that runs through Denzel Curry’s latest project, the sixth album of an already-noteworthy career. Each track seems to have been approached with an open mind and no pre-determined ideas, an approach which yields music that’s more self-reflective, with fewer of the ragers that often characterize his catalog. While his earlier work was more concerned with how hard he could hit you, here Curry is uninterested in grabbing your attention by force. He’s happy to coo and murmur over a slow beat, or grind out the melody of a hook. The songs flow smoothly into each other and follow a general theme of either introspection or bravado.
This is Curry’s response to Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, albeit presented in a less abstract – and therefore much more accessible – manner. Like To Pimp A Butterfly, Curry enlists disciples of the J Dilla school of rhythm – including guest spots from Robert Glasper, Karriem Riggins and Thundercat – to help bring a forward-thinking jazz-meets-hip-hop vibe. And like Kendrick’s seminal album, Melt My Eyez See Your Future rewards your patience. The complex compositions are easy to get lost in, as you seek out and appreciate details that might’ve been missed on a first listen.
On the whole, Melt My Eyez See Your Future is Curry’s most cohesive statement yet, a complete album that’s meticulously arranged and designed to be listened to all the way through. It’s also an early contender for album of the year. From even a cursory listen, it’s clear that Denzel Curry is one of the most talented artists in hip-hop, and if he continues on this trajectory he will be recognized as such.