Melt My Eyez See Your Future
Loma Vista · March 25, 2022
Denzel Curry is one of the most consistent rappers out right now. After his breakout hit Ultimate, he released a slew of critically acclaimed albums, from cult classic Imperial to the trap-banger-filled ZUU, to what is widely considered his best album, the emotional deep dive into Curry’s psyche, TA13OO. After solidifying himself as one of the best young rappers out today, many wondered where Curry would take his next album. He has demonstrated that he is capable of harnessing a variety of sounds and seemed to be heading on an experimental route after 2020’s Kenny Beats-produced tape, Unlocked.
Curry’s new album, Melt My Eyez See Your Future, has a more refined, mature sound than any of his previous releases. It starts off with the ethereal “Melt Session #1,” on which he is assisted by a fellow Loma Vista artist, the great jazz pianist and producer Robert Glasper. Right from the start, Curry sorts through his insecurities and past failures, lamenting: “Dealt with thoughts of suicide, women I’ve objectified,” and “me and my so-called best friends don’t speak often.” Curry has always been a lyricist of substance — look no further than TA13OO — but on this track, and throughout the album, Curry demonstrates that he has matured as an individual and sorts through his feelings in a methodical way.
In a recent interview with Anthony Fantano, Curry revealed that he started going to therapy at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which allowed him to reckon with his feelings and his past. If you listen to earlier tracks, such as “BLACK METAL TERRORIST” off of TA13OO or “Sick and Tired” off of Imperial, Curry’s anger is palpable. On MMESYF, Curry sorts through his issues. On the closing track, “The Ills,” he opens up with: “My mind is a playing field for mental arguments / My thoughts are sayin’ my emotions is who started it”. This evolution of Curry’s lyricism should serve as a relief to his fans, who can rest easy knowing that Curry is in an improved headspace.
Even though Curry gets more vulnerable than ever on the album, he still delivers some clever one-liners. On the 3rd track, “Worst Comes to Worst,” he discusses various problems within the USA, as well as spitting: “They draw guns so how could lead erase me?” The posse cut, “Ain’t No Way,” is perhaps the best song on the album. It features artists 6LACK, Rico Nasty, Jasaih, and JID, as well as producer Powers Pleasant — all of whom are Curry’s frequent collaborators. Tracks with this many features can often feel bloated and lack synergy, but the energy on this track is irresistible. It starts off with a chill chorus from 6LACK, over a sample-filled beat, before Jasiah and Rico Nasty’s aggressive vocals come in. The second part of the track is more low-key, with a minuscule 8-bar verse from JID, before Curry finishes it off with another substantial verse. Here, he raps the most clever line on the entire album: “Run the Jewels, ‘cause I kill the mic on any LP” (Run the Jewels is a hip-hop duo made up of rappers Killer Mike and EL-P).
The other features on this record are well-curated, too. “Troubles,” the album’s second single, is the product of an unexpected collaboration between Curry and T-Pain. The two trade bars over a bouncy, light beat, as T-Pain delivers one of his best verses in the past couple of years. On the banger “Sanjuro,” Curry teams up with fellow South Florida rapper 454 for an energetic performance and ode to their home state.
The production on this record is diverse; Curry displays a variety of sounds, some of which are familiar to his fans, and some of which are nothing like anything he’s ever done before. The fifth track, “The Last,” sounds like old-school Curry, with a beat similar to many of those found on Imperial. On the track, Curry discusses how the pandemic affected him emotionally, and the United States as a whole. Yet, on the interlude-length “The Smell of Death,” Curry raps over a bizarre, dense, Thundercat-produced beat. Other tracks have more jazzy production, such as the aforementioned opening and closing tracks. “Walkin” was the first single released for this album, and helped generate hype for MMESYF. On the track, Curry raps over an old-school beat with a catchy vocal sample. Curry even explores a mumble rap sound on “X-Wing,” over a Gunna/Lil Baby-esque trap beat. Throughout the album, Curry demonstrates that he is not only willing to try out new sounds, but is able to assimilate and make them his own.
With Melt My Eyez See Your Future, Denzel Curry has added yet another standout piece to his already impressive resume, and has proved himself to be a multi-dimensional artist who is capable of switching up his sound at will. Curry was vulnerable on this album, which marks his evolution not only as an artist, but as a person.