Review: NBA Youngboy returns in a big way with “Sincerely, Kentrell”

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Photo by Lily Werner

NBA Youngboy released his self-titled album on Sept. 24.

The term “Youngboy Better” has had Twitter in a chokehold over the past year, thanks to the dedicated fanbase of Youngboy Never Broke Again (popularly known as NBA Youngboy). And despite constantly seeing it pop up under random threads, after listening to his new album, they might actually have a point.

Titled after his real name, “Sincerely, Kentrell” is Youngboy’s first album since being arrested for gun charges in March 2021.  The project is 21 songs deep with no features and it showcases the pain and love Youngboy experiences. On songs like “Break Or Make Me,” we see the battles he goes through behind closed doors. “I’m gon’ be Maybach riding / World War III inside me, tryna see why nothing I do ain’t right,” raps the Baton Rouge native. 

For an album that had to be made without his presence, Youngboy’s team put together an album that really shows who he is and what he experiences. The opening track “Bad Morning” sees Youngboy showcase how his lifestyle is luxurious, yet dangerous. The 21 year old raps, “I don’t need her hand when I’m runnin’ up Benji’s, real deal business, this real Blood business.” Songs like “All I Need” and “Life Support,” however, shows he still has a soft spot through it all.

Along with the musical variety, Youngboy also impressed me with his voice on this album, as his ability to change the pitch of his voice in the middle of songs was very impressive. It kept me engaged during the album, as nobody wants to hear the same sound for 21 songs. “I Can’t Take It Back” is a perfect example of this ability, as he was able to change his voice up three times in the first verse alone. I see a lot of Young Thug in Youngboy when he does this, considering Thug has a very iconic voice in the rap scene and they’ve worked together on previous songs.

As far as complaints go, a lot of the production sounds similar to each other.  The beats aren’t bad, but it can get a little repetitive at times, as I’ve seen this similar style on previous Youngboy projects. However, his versatility on the songs make up for the production. His voice and the way he switches flows in the middle of a song keeps listeners engaged. Aside from this, there were little to no flaws on this album.

Overall, “Sincerely Kentrell” is arguably one of the best albums of 2021. And I hope that with this album, people realize just how talented this young man truly is. The world saw a glimpse of what he is capable of when he was featured on “WUSYANAME” with Tyler, The Creator on “Call me if You Get Lost,” but this new project shows just how diverse Youngboy is as an artist.

For his album to go #1 on the Billboard charts while he’s in jail shows the talent and support Youngboy has around him. And while it’s unknown when his trial will begin, it’s obvious that the world is missing out on a superstar in the moment.

I rate “Sincerely Kentrell” a 9 out of 10. My favorite songs were “Baddest Thing,” “No Where” and “On My Side.”

This article was written by Rashad Alexander. He can be reached at rashad.alexander@marquette.edu.