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Ken Car$on - Project X Music Album Reviews

Ken Car$on - Project X Music Album Reviews
The Atlanta rapper and Playboi Carti protégé aims to set himself apart with his zoned-out sing-rap.

Have you felt the Rage this summer? Click through any major label rap A&R’s Dropbox right now and you’d probably find folder after folder of beats made with the sneering synths and hollowed-out bass thuds that defined Playboi Carti’s Whole Lotta Red and a swath of the current rap landscape. It feels like the industry has been using the sound Carti popularized as a kind of cheat code for creating a viral moment: Some of the year’s biggest rap songs, like Trippie Redd’s “Miss the Rage,” sound like WLR leftovers. Label-supported rising stars like SoFaygo, SSGKobe, and midwxst have hopped on these beats as well.

In theory, Atlanta rapper Ken Car$on has a more natural connection to this trend than his peers. The 19-year-old is Playboi Carti’s protégé, signed to his imprint Opium in 2019, and he and his go-to producers Starboy and Outtatown were already experimenting with this type of production before WLR came out. Car$on’s summer 2020 EP Teen X now reads as a testing ground for Starboy and Outtatown, who’d later bring those molten melodies to WLR songs like “Meh” and “Control.” On his full-length debut Project X, Car$on deepens his working relationship with his core producers, and aims to set himself apart with his zoned-out sing-rap.

Unlike Carti, who yelps and screams all over WLR, Car$on is comparatively chill. The way he deadpans about drugs makes him sound like your high school friend’s cooler older brother. On the electric “Rock N Roll,” he seems to just shrug about being so high that he sees a UFO. With Auto-Tune, his voice turns glowing and percussive—think Duwap Kaine if he had a whole team behind him—and it gives rote chants like the one on the second half of “Run + Ran” a little more heft. Sometimes, he’ll punch in sung lines to create bright little vignettes. On “So What,” he matches the sweet thrill of a one night stand with bars that pile up on top of each other: “She love my aesthetic, yeah, she say I’m cool/Diamonds on my ears and necklace, they wet just like a pool!”

But as the album progresses, it becomes obvious when Car$on’s cartoonish cool shrouds lazy songwriting. For whatever reason, he’s hellbent on following every fun song with a record full of cookie-cutter, rapid-fire flows and stock phrases about counting his racks or diamonds wetter than the ocean. The quirks that make him interesting don’t have room to breathe when he’s trying to emulate Carti’s chaos or Lil Uzi Vert’s velocity. The most glaring error of bad imitation and sequencing comes in the two-song run of “Shake” into “Hella,” where he uses the exact same, one-word-chorus formula over beats that sound painfully familiar.

In a generous reading, Project X aims for an entirely different tone than Whole Lotta Red; Car$on and his producers are going for something sweeter, less scorched and serrated, and they achieve it in fits and starts. Still, I can’t help but feel cynical about Car$on’s rage agenda. He grew up around rap veterans like TM88 and Southside, yet in his interviews, he throws out rote rock star answers about his inspirations—in one, he says he doesn’t like R&B and only listens to himself, and in another, he says he doesn’t listen to rap and lists off All-American Rejects and Blink-182 as favorites. In truth, Car$on at his best sounds more like a student of online rap scenes like plugg, giving the swampy vocal techniques and playful songwriting a dazzling makeover. The irony of rage, however, is that by aspiring to be different, too many rappers end up sounding the same.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Ken Car$on - Project X Music Album Reviews Ken Car$on - Project X Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, August 19, 2021 Rating: 5

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