Music in Review: “Sincerely, Kentrell”

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The Winonan’s music reviewer rates “Sincerely, Kentrell 2/5 stars.

Matthew Drewry, features editor

Youngboy Never Broke Again, real name Kentrell DeSean Gaulden, is a Louisiana rapper who first gained momentum with several mixtape releases before being signed to Atlantic Records.
Gaulden has been rapping since the young age of 14, maintaining a prolific release schedule including 15 mixtapes, and 3 studio albums. His biggest to-date hit was “Bandit”, a pairing with the late JuiceWRLD in 2019. 2020 saw the release of five projects from Gaulden including three mixtapes, a number one album and a collaborative mixtape with Rich the Kid.
“Sincerely, Kentrell” is Gaulden’s third studio album and it’s abundantly clear he is not interested in taking any risks artistically. “Kentrell” runs 57 minutes spanning 21 songs with no features, and largely the same style and content matter of Gaulden’s previous music. This album also comes while Gaulden is currently incarcerated on federal weapon and
drug charges.
Gaulden’s delivery style is characterized by aggressive staccato rapping and odd auto tuned singing. Lyrically, Gaulden seems more focused on delivering fast rap with a lot of energy than saying anything massively substantive. In fact it’s often hard to understand what he’s saying with the exception of some hooks.
The singing is worse, even with the assistance of auto tune some of the singing passages are truly terrible here. It’s impressive to see how quickly Gaulden can transition between the two, but neither are anything to write home about. Tracks like “Nevada” alternate between weird wailing and cooly delivered rap crooning.
While it’s interesting to hear Gaulden attempt to blend these two styles, and he does so well to an extent, I’m not sure he’s quite a virtuoso at either so after a while it gets fairly grating to listen to and the variety of auto tune effects he uses don’t soften it much.
Lyrically, Gaulden spends a majority of the album talking about gang violence, drugs, money and casual sex or weird emotional moments with women This is a bit disappointing given the title and cover art. I hoped to hear some fatherhood bars from this father of seven children.
There are a few moments where he sounds introspective like on “Life Support” talking about the loss of his grandmother who raised him, but the majority of the tracks are very samesy. There are also a few “love” ballads where Gaulden is addressing a romantic partner which is fairly gross and also comes off as very emotionally dishonest.
There are also a multitude of tracks where Gaulden sounds off beat or slightly ahead or behind of the track he’s rapping on. I’m not experienced enough with his music to tell if that’s a bug or a feature, but it’s pretty offputting on the tracks where it happens.
To compliment this album, there are a few great beats. Especially the latin flavored guitar and castanet sounds on “White Teeth.” “My Killa” has a fantastic melody with some very flat and electronic melodic elements. However, the guitar is used on what seems like every other track on the album and pretty quickly grows tired and emotionally empty. There are essentially two beats on this album, the slower guitar driven tracks or the faster Zaytoven-eque aggressive piano tracks, and by track 22 it gets pretty old.
This album really falls apart in the length. At 57 minutes and solely featuring Gaulden rapping and singing, even with some good beats there is still not enough variety here to justify the entire runtime. It’s nearly impossible to tell some songs apart and with most songs hovering in the 2-3 minute mark, they all blend together in an amorphous mass of southern trap.
I think Gaulden is displaying a lot of potential with this tape, but it’s really missed with the rushed and samesy style of this tape, potentially rushed given his incarcerated status. The 6-8 best tracks could make a great EP, but this album is just a lot of the same and I can’t say I love it.
The best metaphor I could make for this album is a lot like a pie eating contest where the prize is more pie. If you’re a Youngboy fan, I’m happy for you and you will probably really enjoy this album. This, however, is really not for me in the slightest. I rate “Sincerely, Kentrell” 2 of 5 stars.