It’s been quite a year for ‘Kenny’

When Kenny Mason visited Kenny Beats’ long-running YouTube show “The Cave” last summer, it was an unforeseen clue that the game’s “Kennys” we’re about to take over.

Their recorded studio session proved to be a key moment for the future, as 2022 has brought forth equally impressive eras for each Kenny: Mason, Beats, Ken Carson and “Kung Fu Kenny” Kendrick Lamar.

With Mr. Morale sharing his short film for “We Cry Together,” Kenny Mason putting out Pup Pack ahead of a new album, Carson relishing in the success of X and now Kenny Beats’ sharing his surprising debut Louie, the prolific producer’s first foray as an artist is a cinematic, sample-clad LP of timeless vibes and poignant production.

The project itself is a testament to Kenny’s keen eye for inclusion, incorporating frequent collaborators in JPEGMafia, Slowthai, Pink Siifu, Thundercat, Paris Texas, Omar Apollo, Mac DeMarco, Vince Staples, Remiwolf and others. While not directly credited as featured acts, swoonly-sung hooks, background vocals, skits and fragmented verses from Louie’s roster tie the record’s personal and “beautiful” nature together.

Created over the course of a month last year, there’s major purpose behind Louie. Evident in the overwhelming care and control of its contents, he tributes the album to his father Leonard, or “Louie,” who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2021.

Beats’ LP is emotionally resonate at every turn regardless of lyrical content. The music simply speaks for itself. Raising the bar for producers in 2022, Kenny showcases how malleable a beat tape can be and his range as an artist — melding a musical experience worth revisiting again and again.

Turning “something dark” into pure sonic bliss, the album proves to be a metamorphosis of sorts for the longtime producer — spreading his wings, honoring his father and finding something to say altogether.

“I always said that I wouldn’t do a solo album because I didn’t have anything to say. Finally, I did. Something dark turned into something beautiful. This album encapsulated the feeling of that one month.”

Kenny Beats via release

As for Mason, Pup Pack was just the latest win amid a handful of them in 2022. Lifting himself to new heights stemming from a string of collabs with Dreamville and JID — appearing twice on his instant AOTY contender The Forever StoryKenny’s sights are potentially set on an album dropping in September. If Pup Pack is the appetizer, his forthcoming project will be a feast of sizzling rhymes within his signature rock-infused sound.

Carson’s position as a top dog of the new wave’s core leadership was further strengthened by his debut album X in July. Putting on for Playboi Carti’s budding imprint Opium in convincing fashion, Ken is already building hype around his next release — which is poised to be a self-titled LP he previously teased in August 2021.

While Lamar continues to sell out arenas in the thick of “The Big Steppers Tour,” the rest of the Kennys are impressively holding down their sub-sections of hip-hop. From the thorns K-Dot adorns to the “pups” Mason let off the leash, it seems that “Kennything is possible” from here on out.

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