Wrapped in his signature tightly wrapped hoodie, the 22-year old $not has more to say than we realize. His latest album release, “Beautiful Havoc,” gives us a look inside his mind. It’s dark, powerful, and catchy.
Described as “anti-social jams” by Audible Treats, $NOT doesn’t ask for your attention; he demands it.
The album starts with “Watch Out (Intro),” which is a daring start for what’s next. He wants listeners to fear him, almost showcasing his intrusive thoughts. It’s haunting and intense, which leads us into “Revenge,” which throws us for a loop in the tone change. It’s lighter; even his voice raises several octaves. It goes from being resentful to grateful, even acknowledging that sometimes his lyrics are messed up, but they’re his truth.
Each track exists as its own entity, and “Life” is no exception. Slower and honest, he says directly that he’s not okay. Introspective and eerie lyrics such as “I don’t want to die tonight but if you f*ck with me you might die tonight” show self-awareness and instability in a very controlled way.
“Demanding” is about someone playing with his heart and him feeling used because of it. It shows the juxtaposition between the person using him and how he also feels; he sees the similarities between them. Repetitive and soothing, “Who Do I Trust,” has some Latin sway to it.
It is a nice break away from “Demanding,” as he recognizes his worth.
“Like Me (feat. iann dior)” keeps with the confidence showing how people want his life while “Toni Braxton” acts as the shining grace to 2020. It’s catchy and establishes his goals. Moving into “4” we deviate from confidence into aggression; he shows the lengths he’ll go to get what he wants.
“Sangria (feat. Denzel Curry)” is reminiscent of “Watch Out” is dark, but Denzel Curry almost brings us out of that place with nostalgic references. Audible Treats calls it “a pugilistic and hedonistic heat rock.”
This moves into “Mean,” where he talks about how he wants someone mean like him. It’s a hard hitter, low toned, and a straight shot. There’s a lot of murder metaphors and mentions. “Havoc” takes this and uses blood and violence in a very casual way.
The concluding track “Horizon” is more hopeful than the rest. He’s leaving us with the tease of more to come. This album is a testament to his nihilism. Each song has its own voice, but they work together to create a snapshot of who $NOT is.
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Ali Bouldin is a freelance writer within the Black and Hip-Hop culture. With featured articles in multiple publications.