The latest underground rapper on the rise Ken Car$on has gone from being completely unknown to being a flagship artist for “OPIUM” (Playboi Carti’s record label) and the hyper-trap genre itself. Ken’s success in the underground trap scene started with his 2020 EP, “Teen X”, an okay collection of 6 short songs, one being his first underground hit “Yale”.
My personal experience with Ken’s music has been a mixed one, whilst I enjoy some of his songs subjectively, and critically it’s clear that Ken has no real longevity or even any creative prowess.
His 2021 debut album, Project X, was riddled with unimaginative flows, boring lyrical content, and repetitive beats. Unfortunately, his second album “X” falls victim to the same setbacks.
From the jump it’s clear what the album wants to be, an hour-long energy inducer filled to the brim with rage beats meant for live performances, in a similar fashion to Playboi Carti’s “Whole Lotta Red”.
“X” fails to come close to what Carti achieved on his album and ends up feeling like a painfully obvious knockoff. The beats are individually well produced, but when put together in a 20-track album it feels like someone is knocking you in the head with the same 808 drums for an hour straight.
Ken himself ends up being the worst part of the album and gets in the way of some of the better beats.
His autotuned-drenched vocals and repetitive cadence rob every song of any emotion or stand-out moments, leaving nothing for the listener to pay attention to let alone relate to.
All the songs are pretty much awful for all the same reasons and it’s hard to pinpoint which is the worst because they all sound exactly the same. “Fuk 12” and “South Beach” could be the lowest points on the album for how creatively redundant they both are, but you could swap out those two songs for any other pair of songs on the album and it would still be valid.
Homixide Gang’s feature on “Delinquent” is just as vapid as Ken’s performance on the song and ends up feeling utterly pointless, especially when it’s the only other vocal performance on the whole album.
Despite having a co-sign from one of the biggest artists in trap music and disposal of producers and collaborators at his fingertips, it seems like Ken has self-extinguished the spark he showed a glimpse of on “Teen X”.
With artists like Yeat transforming the hyper-trap/rage-trap sound with soaring vocals and unique cadences, it’s hard to see why a fan of genre would opt to listen Ken Carson’s music which in comparison sounds like it could’ve been made by an AI.
To improve, Ken simply needs to find his own identity and through that, create original music that’s worth paying attention to, because if he doesn’t change, I fear his longevity may be shortened even more.
SCORE/Poor: “X” does nothing but prove Ken is uninspired and severely lacking in originality. With tone deaf vocals and cookie-cutter beats, this one is a no-go.