Over the course of Kodak Blackâ€™s career in Hip Hop, the artist has been marred with controversial takes, conspiracy theories, and incarceration. Once lauded as the future of Florida, Kodak carried with him the cult-following of SoundCloud rappers like XXXTENTACION and Juice WRLD, delivering blood-soaked raps with squeaking zeal. Between stints in jails and prisons, Kodak unleashed hellfire through tracks such as â€œNo Flockinâ€™,â€ â€œZEZEâ€ and â€œDrowning,â€ captivating audiences in the Sunshine State and beyond with his unique voice and broken-hearted ballads filled with memorable one-liners and hellacious deliveries.
Haitian Boy Kodak arrived this past May and marks the first project Kodak has dropped since being released after serving his latest jail stint, a 46-month bid which ended upon former President Trumpâ€™s commuting of his sentence. With eight tracks coming in at just under 22-minutes, Haitian Boy Kodak breaks from the trend of long Hip Hop albums and turns the focus inward, setting features aside for a more holistic portrait of Kodak as a person and artist.
Unfortunately, the portrait was rushed and poorly drawn.
There are attempts to wrangle Haitian Boy Kodak into a tightly bound exploration into his heritage. Born to a Haitian immigrant (the Z Queen makes an appearance in the accompanying video to Lil Yachty and Kodakâ€™s â€œHit Bout Itâ€), Kodakâ€™s not previously gone into any particular detail about his upbringing. On â€œDejanbem,â€ Kodak sings in Haitian Creole, pleading for Heavenâ€™s guidance as he recalls the perils of incarceration and the misery of heartache, resulting in one of the albumâ€™s strongest offerings. But aside from â€œDejanbemâ€ and the albumâ€™s title, Haitian Boy Kodak hardly scratches the surface of his lifeâ€™s story, leaving unanswered questions and little context.
Of course, there are moments on Haitian Boy Kodak when the Dade County rapper shows signs of the lyrical spontaneity and stream-of-consciousness which brought him to the forefront of his generation earlier this decade, but instead of the nuanced, clever bars found in projects such as 2018â€™s Dying to Live or even 2017â€™s Painting Pictures, weâ€™re left with a scattered assortment of half-built ideas.
Sure, thereâ€™s â€œRound The Rosesâ€ and â€œZ Look Jamaican,â€ two tracks which will likely rack up some streams and receive some radio play, but those songs canâ€™t hold a flame to Kodakâ€™s previous hits wonâ€™t stand as meaningful offerings in the â€œLockjawâ€ rapperâ€™s discography.
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Unsurprisingly, Haitian Boy Kodak received a paltry reception, but instead of reflecting on the albumâ€™s core issues, Kodak ranted on Instagram about receiving little playlisting or industry support. Perhaps Kodak will break free from the rut heâ€™s occupied since last yearâ€™s Bill Israel, weâ€™ll be waiting. Until then: The Z Looksâ€¦unfocused.
Kodak Black new Album Haitian Boy Kodak was ok ??. It wasnâ€™t all that to me.
â€” THE YOUNG GOAT ? (@YoungLegend600) May 14, 2021
This new â€œHaitian Boy Kodakâ€ by Kodak Black has to be the WORST album/EP by a major artist in the last 50 years.
Every single track is a â€œskip.â€ https://t.co/gcZ2uufQbM
â€” ?????????? (@ShamDeluxe) May 14, 2021