US rapper XXXTentacion has exploded out of the Soundcloud rap scene, releasing his debut album 17 last year and recently topping the billboard charts with his second full-length album: ?
Alone, Part 3 kicks off this record nicely with gently picked acoustic guitar, soft piano and a morose, mumbled vocal. Moonlight offers a shifting synth pattern under a tight, bright trap beat showing hints of Kendrick Lamar in an almost lullabyesque backdrop. SAD delves into alternative r’n’b with another mellow vocal approach, while Floor555 kicks into aggressive gangsta rap that would give Eminem a run for his money.
? offers many musical stylings executed in a lo-fi nature, but the ideas themselves sound fresh, exciting and different to a very saturated rap market. Numb is pure scuzz guitar, while Going Down has the same playful narrative as Higher Brothers, and Pain=Bestfriend fuses indie folk guitar with emo sensibilities.
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X isn’t afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve. Each song offers an incredibly raw range of emotions. The only issue is many of these songs barely touch the two-minute mark, and often just feel like a playlist of ideas, rather than completed songs.
Unfortunately, the quality starts to diminish in the final stretch. Love Yourself sounds like it was recorded on a phone, while $$$, SMASH and I Don’t Even Speak Spanish lol are all disjointed and throwaway ideas. Hope, Schizophrenia and Before I Close My Eyes do save some of the best moments until last though.
If this is anything to go by, there should be no question mark over X’s abilities.
Edited by Pete Spurrier