Scarlxrd — Acquired Taste: Vxl.2 — Album Review

Trap Metal | Alternative | Rap | Hardcore

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

It’s safe to say that Scarlxrd is a productive musical force unlike any other, and has a unique aesthetic to match. Much darker and more intense than almost all other UK rap artists around, the Wolverhampton artist made a huge splash in 2021, the year when I first discovered Scarlxrd. In that year alone, Scarlxrd release not one, but two amazing albums, as well as a collaborative EP with Ghostemane.

Scarlxrd is considered a pioneer of the Trap Metal subgenre, and with the two aforementioned 2021 albums it was easy to see this. Both of those projects, the first being Dxxm II, and the latter being DeadRising, really presented the artist at their best, in my opinion. Along with this, they really reflected just how much of a polarising presence the rapper has (and I mean that in the best way possible).

Aside from the more metal-heavy material in Scarlxrd’s discography, however, I knew that from looking back through the artist’s musical catalogue, there are other projects that lean more towards the hip-hop or trap side of his music. That seems to be the case with his latest instalment.

As the name suggests, Acquired Taste: Vxl 2. is a sequel to Scarlxrd’s 2019 album (or one of them, at least), and indeed stays true to the far more trap friendly tone that was present on said album. It has seemed like a trend that Scarlxrd had been veering away from with recent projects, favouring the more hardcore side of his music. And while this album breaks that transition, there are a few hidden heavy gems to be found on here.

While it’s important not to stick to the same style for too long, which Acquired Taste: Vxl 2. shows to be going against, I feel that the more trap-focussed presence compliments Scarlxrds vocal style far less brilliantly. His signature throat-wrecking screams don’t exactly go hand in hand with many of the beats here, which for the most part are skeletal enough to simply fade into the background. Vocals like Scarlxrd’s call for big and mighty beats to complete that insane energy he has brought to the table before, and there’s far way less of that here.

This becomes even more problematic when you consider just how many tracks are on this thing; Acquired Taste: Vxl 2. has a whopping 27 tracks, and a runtime of well over an hour. Pairing this with an abundance of sub-par beats, and you have an album that I personally, am really not as invested in as I would’ve liked to have been. The fact that this album dropped on the same Friday as Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, and the review for this album is arriving a whole ten days later, just goes to show how uninvested I really am in this record.

Even some of the better tracks on here have minor flaws that tell me that this album was borderline rushed. An example of this would be “Weirdx”; a track that I heard a short snippet of, and couldn’t wait to hear in full. However, the 38 seconds of silence that followed the track’s closing moment almost ruined the whole song.

I don’t want to harp on about this album for much longer, but while this album does have it’s few good moments, Acquired Taste: Vol. 2 just doesn’t stack up in the slightest, compared to his 2021 masterpieces. The sheer amount of productivity is admirable, but I am left feeling that honestly, a short break from releasing numerous projects every year, to give some creative headroom for another great record, might just be what Scarlxrd needs.

Favourite Tracks: Generatixn | Mxrbid | Tell Me Why

Least Favourite Tracks: Nx | Gxxey Gxxey

LXRD RECORDS

Final Score: 45%

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