Even while behind bars, nothing is stopping Rot Ken from unleashing a hefty pack from his “300-track” vault.
The 18-year-old Internet Money artist not only touts ferocious wordplay and ear-catching melodies — drawing vocal similarities to Lil Baby and NBA YoungBoy — but has formally introduced himself on his debut project Free Me, executive produced by IM head honcho Taz Taylor (May 6).
Recruiting rising stars in SoFaygo, Kalan.FrFr, Hunxho and 21 Lil Harold, the young Georgia native has stayed busy dropping a handful of singles over the course of 2021. After releasing his breakout hit “007” last March, previous cuts in “Heartbreak Kid,” “Baby Choppa,” “Never Bend” and “Soulja Slim” all have made it onto Free Me.
Having been incarcerated since October 2021, his #FreeKen movement, ignited by Internet Money collaborators and fans, are a central theme to the album’s concept — seeing Rot Ken standing idle in the black-and-grey mugshot-esque cover.
Of the pre-released singles, “Beautiful” with SoFaygo is easily one of the most mainstream-ready tracks off the LP. Filled with ethereal pads and reverse piano melodies, Rot Ken emanates a certain “Young Thug” approach to the Dec. 1 drop — using his higher register to bend his bars within his singing prowess. With production from super producers JetsonMade and Nick Mira, Faygo and Ken once again assert their chemistry and star power within new wave’s endlessly talented roster.
While Rot Ken climbs to greater heights on Free Me, “Heartbreak Kid” further displays his natural talent at just age 18. With swooning guitar refrains and entrancing vocalizations, Ken croons about being the “heartbreak kid that just wants to see you smile.” He refers to his mother — feeling as though he’s let her down with the life that’s consumed him — spitting “I don’t know how many times I told you sorry, I don’t know why.”
Touting hard-hitting 808s and iridescent ad-libs, Ken’s passionate vocals are the star of the show, coming through with waves of self-reflective depth and power to overcome the adversity he faces. Much of the album is like this, as Ken hops from street-centric hits to contemplative cuts with ease.
Putting forth perhaps his strongest effort to date, Free Me is a huge step in the right direction for the unrotten, unwavering Rot Ken.
Check out Rot Ken’s ‘Free Me’ below!