After years of radio silence, No Stylist is finally here. The album, which thankfully subsided underground fans’ colossal expectations for it, not only saw Destroy Lonely convincingly ascend to greater heights, but further solidified his status as an irreplaceable leader of the new wave’s soundscape.
When OGM’s Hakeem Rowe interviewed Lonely in September 2021, No Stylist was probably the single most anticipated underground album at the time, and held onto that title until its release last Friday (Aug. 13). Along the way, fans got tired of demanding him to “drop No Stylist,” as some resorted to the assumption that it would never come out. That was until Lonely appeared out of the blue on Thursday (Aug. 11), announcing No Stylist hours before its arrival.
Within the residual hype of its opening weekend, fans were able to digest the album enough to calibrate their expectations for Lonely’s career moving forward. The simple consensus: The sky is the limit for Lone.
Ever since Playboi Carti altered hip-hop entirely with Whole Lotta Red in December 2020, his label Opium‘s releases have mostly come from Lonely and Ken Carson. However, what separates the two is that Ken had actually been releasing projects, such as summer 2021’s Project X, last month’s X and multiple SoundCloud mixtapes. With Lonely, he had been able to maintain a fanbase similar to Ken’s even though he had hardly been dropping any music.
Having put out three official singles and one 5-track SoundCloud exclusive EP in nearly a two-year span, Lonely’s ability to captivate his fanbase could only be attributed to his exceptional combination of tangible attributes. The reason Opium should continue to invest in Destroy Lonely, especially after his wonderful showing on No Stylist, is because he has all the upside and skill necessary to sustain his growing cult fanbase.
While Carson is more apt to incite a mosh-pit and raise the energy in an arena, Lonely delivers much more of a polished flow, lyrical skill, track comfortability and impressive beat selection altogether. Both of these artists have been pegged as Carti’s continuations — or perhaps represent both halves of his sound — but Lonely continues to further this marriage of rock, pluggnb and trap with his exquisite use of electric guitars, evident on “DANGEROUS,” and masterful ability ride an instrumental, evident on “NOSTYLIST.”
Sports and music are synonymous in a handful of ways, and to make an analogy, the late Bill Russell, one of the greatest basketball players and pioneers in NBA history, once famously said: “This game has always been, and will always be, about buckets.” Granted, basketball and rap music are much different from one another, but they each share universal truths: You have to able to put the ball in the basket, and you have to be able to rap in rap music.
While younger artists like Ken and Lonely typically are indicted for “being carried by their beats,” it’s still apparent that having a strong flow and being able to rap effectively, with whichever style you choose, is still of the utmost importance — and always will be. You have to be able to rap, and Destroy Lonely can, and can very well. This is not as obvious when it comes to Ken Carson, whose, at times, distorted and unsettling cadences create awkward-sounding tracks.
Going forward, it’s abundantly clear that Destroy Lonely is well on his way to becoming a successful mainstream rapper, and may very well leave his counterparts in the dust during his ascent.
Check out ‘No Stylist’ below!