Photo By: Noah Nickel via Apple Music
Melt My Eyez See Your Future sees Denzel Curry in a new form through an elevated lens on his past self that doesn’t need the hype energy that the Miami rapper built his career off of.
“Melt Session #1 (feat. Robert Glasper)” starts the record off with a mission statement: this isn’t the Denzel you’re used to. With lines that are incredibly revealing about the rapper’s past toxic mindsets including his struggles with fame and greed, objectifying women and the deception of loneliness as the ultimate solution.
The opening track ends with Denzel finding solace in religion, “I channel God through this verse / Accountability, I take responsibility.” The instrumental on this track is also indicative of Curry’s spiritual pivot; there isn’t much in the way of trap bangers on Melt, unlike Curry’s older projects that imported the rapper’s Raider Klan origins — namely phonk — into his early LPs, resulting in fast, witty bars and aggressive and dark instrumentals (save “Sanjuro [feat. 454]).” On Curry’s fifth release, however, the instrumentals are soft and backgrounded to let Curry’s lines take the foreground, his flow being noticeably slower than on his previous work.
Instrumentals across Melt consist of airy, upbeat samples and soft vocal harmonies in hooks, the highlights of which include the single “Walkin” and deeper in the record on “Mental (feat. Saul Williams & Bridget Perez).”
There are moments on the record that remind us that Curry, despite this major shift in style, isn’t too heady for an anime reference like on “The Smell Of Death” which features a Naruto bar. The Raider Klan graduate may have a more nuanced perspective on his past self but he doesn’t take himself too seriously perhaps in fear of alienating his audience, something he’s stressed in promotional interviews leading up to the release of Melt.
While the record is a solid project, there is a bit of fat that could be trimmed. Particularly in between the strong beginning, middle, and end points of the record. Tracks like the amateurish “X-Wing” might fit more snuggly on an EP or as a single and “John Wayne (feat. Buzz Lee)” has an interesting concept, drawing parallels to the figure in the title to the violence found in the projects, but falls flat with a lackluster hook and some undercooked vocal performances.
That being said, Melt is an exciting new chapter in Denzel Curry’s staggeringly consistent career since his come up last decade.