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DFTK - Yung Kayo Music Album Reviews

DFTK - Yung Kayo Music Album Reviews
The debut album from the Young Thug protégé is an exhilarating opening salvo by an artist who only occasionally seems in full control of his considerable talent—which is half the fun. 

So few things of interest happen in the text of Yung Kayo’s music that it must be by design. References to fashion labels (constant) and guns (occasional) seldom create any narrative tension, and are instead mere mise-en-scène for songs that reach for what is communicable only through sound design or pure performance. In fact, for someone so nominally obsessed with the things he can buy and wear, the physical world can seem like an impediment to Kayo. Take the way he raps on “no sense,” one of the many dreamlike songs from his debut album, DFTK: “I had to look at my neck/The chain is so heavy it's holding me down,” as if this VVS anchor is the only thing to stop him from simply floating away.

Still a teenager, Kayo (as in K.O., as in “knockout”) recently moved to Los Angeles from his native Washington, D.C., where his father was a go-go DJ. He began rapping around 10 years old when an older brother purchased a microphone; by 15, he was releasing singles and walking in runway shows. But where a decade ago this sort of high-low tension—Kayo’s Vogue appearances and Yak Gotti collaborations standing in for A$AP Rocky’s Rick Owens and Lord Infamous obsessions—led to frenzied press campaigns and breathtaking record deals, Kayo has spent the last few years refining his array of vocal styles and taste in production largely out of view of the adult world and the industries it controls.

His first creative breakthrough came in 2019, on a song called “Glitch.” Produced by Warpstr—who would become a reliable collaborator, and who handles virtually all of DFTK—that song sounds somehow both busy and stripped to the bone, using ad-libs used as architecture in a way that makes “Glitch” seem to breathe on its own. It intrigued Young Thug, who flew Kayo to L.A. and recorded with him for several weeks, eventually signing the young rapper to his YSL imprint. From “Glitch,” Kayo evidently went searching for a style of contemporary rap he couldn’t master, flitting between white-hot growls, round-edged crooning, and exultant singing.

DFTK is not a comprehensive survey of everything Kayo can do as a vocalist. It smartly excises the flatter, more predictable modes he occasionally lapsed into on his earlier EPs, instead finding him at his most concentratedly chaotic, a steady dose of ungovernable energy. Like “Glitch” and his better work from the intervening years, it sounds like a computer booting up from deep in hell; it has as much in common with PC Music as with Swamp Izzo tapes. (Its most arresting guest spot comes not from the buzzing Portland rapper Yeat, but the experimental producer and vocalist Eartheater, who wails halfway through “hear you.”) It’s an exhilarating opening salvo by an artist who only occasionally seems in full control of his considerable talent, an impression that makes the already jittery DFTK all the more unpredictable.

While his writing only rarely carries thoughts to anything like their natural conclusions, Kayo’s phraseology is slyly engaging. As with the chain that keeps him tied to Earth, the banality of certain stock expressions sometimes underlines just how badly he wants to reach some higher, more emotionally honest plane. See one of the album’s best songs, the desperate “believer,” where the couplet “We was supposed to link up/It was supposed to be us” hinges on how insufficient “link up” is for communicating the connection he feels—or seeks—with someone else. On “crystal clear,” he warns that his shooters will “kill for the blue bills,” a description of hundred-dollar notes so odd it’s like he’s only seen them only once or twice. (That song also has one of the album’s only funny moments: “Your homeboy, he run out of Oxys/Me and my bitch, we keep doing the opposite,” an utterly bizarre, yet deeply effective structure for a boast.)

But DFTK is best experienced as a fugue, where one gut feeling dissolves into another the way a robbery on “over” is forgotten nearly as soon as it’s mentioned. Kayo’s music is a study in impulse, and occasionally in excess: opener “down (one kount)” seems as if it might teeter into preening pop-punk revival, but lands closer to his mentor’s best experiments in digital pop. At a time when teenaged songwriters are being praised for their emotional acuity, this—an album that opens and closes with the artist comparing himself to the Joker—is perhaps the most interesting artifact, a reminder of the depth that can be found in what we cannot strictly say.

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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.
DFTK - Yung Kayo Music Album Reviews DFTK - Yung Kayo Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, February 16, 2022 Rating: 5

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