If it's one thing you can ALWAYS count on Denzel doing, it's dropping a damn good beat. (With a great taste in features at that.) Even at his most tedious, Denzel manages to imbue the backbone of his work with hints of simmering emotion with a dash of melody. It's obvious the guy has a passion for what he's doing in that regard. So much so that I wouldn't be surprised if he took helm as someone's creative director or "beat dealer" for a one-off project some day. (Whatchya buyin'?) Maybe even a possible collaboration one day? But I digress. This is very much Denzel at his core with his reoccurring trends, tricks and mannerisms. Adamant, boisterous and nasally. There isn't much reinvention taking place, so I'm struggling to find "new" accolades per say, aside from "refinement", but I'm of the opinion that if you strike a creative peak, then there isn't really a reason to not tap into that for as long as you'd like to. Just keep improving where you currently stand. Which, I think he has!
With all that said, (aside from Charlie Sheen, which slaps!) Denzel continues to be his own achilles heel here. His lyrical flow has always been awkward with little improvement over the years. He sounds too nasally to be sincere or melodic, and he sounds too coy to be rough and gruff. Not too mention his wordplay has been on a downward spiral for quite some time now. It would be one thing if his music was mindless fun, but he's been reaching for this "tortured mind" aesthetic recently and I'm just not buying it. Continuously stretching out the cryptic melodrama and edgy subjects farther than they need to be, he ends up sounding awfully contrived as a result.
"The entity of ZXLTRXN is here to give you an invitation to the active mind of a man with multiple personalities. Darkness, Happiness, Past, Present and Future make there way into this mixx."
Kinda sounding like your homie X there, mate. I'm not going to get into the talks of marketability or pandering to an audience, as that's just speculation and pretty pretentious. But let's give him the benefit of the doubt and say this is 100% genuine.
It doesn't come off that way anyways.
The vocal mixing doesn't consistantly accommodate to his talents. Denzel and company sound like they've been pushed to the back. Center at best. Which, is fine in theory. It's easy to see what he was going for. A nasty vocal tone creeping in the distance with all the aforementioned qualities and what not, but there's blemishes where he's barely tangible at all, and when so much of this project thrives on seamless transition, it's consequential. I don't think he's loud enough. Albeit barely. He ends up meshing with his features and the background, so you end up having these loud and beefy beats that don't mean as much as they should when they're put next to granular and scanty sounding performances. There's no deeper meaning hiding in plain sight, it's just lacking proper execution at certain points on the technical front.
Denzel Curry continues to do what he does best...and what he does worst. (Albiet, progress has definitely been made since ZUU.) Eventually, this creative phase he's in will fade, and time will tell whether he's a one trick pony or not. (Which I personally doubt he is.) For now, I just hope he can shake off the problems that plague him most. Hopefully, he doesn't haunt himself later down the line. (yuh.)