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Let The Chaos Ensue… Ken Carson’s ‘A Great Chaos’ Reviewed

Ken Carson couldn’t give a f*ck about a music critic. The Opium rapper’s third studio album A Great Chaos is a testament to that. It’s evident from the record's title, as well as its through line of anarchic sonic experimentation, that Carson’s creations are intentionally constructed to be glaringly secular. It’s music to mosh too, with each song positioned as an extension of a belligerent mood, made in order to be amplified in a live setting.

#AGC offers up the Ken Carson blueprint we experienced on the rising rapper’s earlier projects Teen X, and X, with slight deviations in his approach to sonics that aren’t so easily discernible. As always with Carson, his influences are clear as day in the soundscapes that he creates. On this record however, as opposed to through production, Carson channels his influences through a series of ‘voices’. On tracks ‘Fighting Demons’, ‘Like This', ‘Over It’ and ‘Rockstar Lifestyle’ he pitches down his voice and adapts his flows to create a Future-reminiscent persona. ‘Atlanta Ken’; a version of himself who delivers braggadocious bars that exalt the Opium lifestyle; drugs, high fashion, girls, guns and rock’n’roll - to no end.

An unexpected character we’re introduced to on this album is ‘romantic Ken’, an ever so slightly pitched up version of himself found on tracks such as ‘Succubus’, ‘Paranoid’ featuring Lil Uzi Vert and Destroy Lonely, ‘Nightcore’, ‘Nightcore 2’ and fan favourite ‘i need u’. It’s fitting, given that the rapper is named after Barbie’s boyfriend, that this version of himself he channels through his music is a dreadfully hopeless romantic who pines over unrequited love and the hypnotic allure of women; seemingly to no avail. For the latter tracks on the album, including standout tracks ‘Jennifer’s Body’, ‘Overtime’ and ‘Vampire Hour’ we get ‘OG Ken’, Carson’s default voice, the rapper who coined the famous adlib ‘huh, huh, huh, huh…’ which we hear used almost like a leitmotif extensively across the album.


It’s no surprise however, that the standout quality of AGC is its production. After all that’s always been Ken’s sonic identifier, the boundless amalgamation of genre’s delivered through innovations with electronic music. There’s hip-hop, hyperpop, heavy metal, grunge and trap all present. Adding to this, with a production powerhouse behind the album that credits the likes of AM, F1LTHY, GAB3, EPREME, EPM88, LIL88, LEGION, KP Beatz, Bart Howe, Bhristo, Clif Shayne, MaxFlames, MISOGI, Nick Spiders & more - it’s clear as day that the otherworldly atmosphere created by each track on the album is as a result of melding a vast melting pot of production skillset. Thus, hybridity is what defines this next chapter for Carson. From the way he explores his creative persona, right through to his approach to genre innovations, A Great Chaos arrives as an album that will help continue to define the rapper's burgeoning music legacy as a trailblazer both within Opium, and in his own right.



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