There aren’t many rappers out there giving sex ed advice in their lyrics. Props to Denzel for protecting his listeners against STIs and unwanted pregnancy. That said, much of the rest of the lyrical content on the Florida rapper’s new album is rather uninteresting. It’s the usual braggadocio about money and success with the addition of an ass anthem titled ‘Shake 88’. Oh, and there’s also a mildly funny skit about how people in Florida overuse the word ‘yo’.
It’s definitely not as sophisticated as the Florida rapper’s previous album Taboo, which saw Denzel deep-diving into the theme of depression whilst also managing to squeeze an anti-Trump song into the mix. The album is also a lot shorter – it’s barely thirty minutes long.
But that doesn’t matter, because this album is clearly aiming for a different purpose. Zuu is a gauntlet of back-to-back bangers. Every beat goes hard and every hook is infectious. But unlike most other albums in this vein, there’s enough distinction between tracks to keep it constantly engaging. ‘Wish’ is west-coast flavoured trap for a summer barbecue. ‘Speedboat’ is suave piano-laced rags-to-riches rap for drinking champagne to alone. Meanwhile, closer ‘P.A.T’ is angry noise-rap for smashing shit up to. These are bangers for all occasions.
It’s got the energy and vibrancy of Travis Scott’s Astroworld, but with none of Travis’s annoying autotune. The cast of guests may not be that impressive, but in some ways it's quite refreshing to not hear a hip hop album that's so reliant on features (I'm looking at you, DJ Khaled). Denzel is able to single-handedly take these tracks and make them dynamic without having to rope in other artists. He can get soft and smooth and he can get loud and angry.
It’s not the carefully-curated masterpiece that Taboo was – you can tell that this album was put together in a hurry given how soon after it is – but it doesn’t try to be anything else other than a fun record. Besides, I have the feeling Denzel is simply biding his time and gearing up for something greater...