denzel curry, florida's product of modern day hip hop
We caught up with the rising MC ahead of the Yeesuz Florida show, he told us why he wants absolutely nothing for Christmas, why getting expelled is good and about his softer, more romantic side.
Denzel Curry by Devin Christopher
First things first, lock into an exclusive track premiere of a new creation between Denzel Curry and Deniro Farrar after their hookup at Boiler Room NYC.
A direct product of modern day hip hop, rising Florida MC Denzel Curry does not take kindly to threats. The blood-curdling screams recorded onto his current mixtape, N64, demonstrate why. Dark and violent, as a kid, Denzel witnessed man's unforgiving and uncensored brutality, first hand. The music he records today, rages ferociously. First exposed to the senseless murder of his cousin in Carol City, Florida, aged 10, Denzel's class mate Trayvon Martin was then shot and killed shortly after. "l'm about to own a gun. They say l'm too young to get a hand gun, l can only get a shotgun but l just really want a revolver. They're always shooting them over here. The world is a dangerous place." Creating trippy narratives, 18-year-old Aquarius killer Denzel translates the childhood traumas that have influenced him darkly into fantastical scenarios, recorded over menacing and eerie instrumentals. "I experience life in an intense way. Growing up in Carol City you tend to see a lot of shit that should never be seen: drugs and prostitutes. I couldn't be one of those people, most of them die, I'm not going to be laid out on the street. I wanted to talk about what's going down in my music, because at the end of the day, there were people l knew in my area, who were killers."
A dormant member of skateboarding, 4AD hip hop producer SpaceGhostPurrp's Raider Klan crew, Denzel is currently holed up at his family digs, grafting full time on new music. Grandma calls time on our interview. Placing his forthcoming, terror laced album's evolution somewhere between fiction, real life and nightmarish possibilities, the raw, gritty shroom-inspired universe Denzel now inhabits will "surprise everybody." Playing around with analogue beats, gaming theme tunes and fresh equipment, his primary focus is to hone slicker production techniques that will allow the delivery of his powerful, lyrical anecdotes to take impact with a distinctive and heavy blow. He vibes off the elements of reality, popular music commonly underplays. He does not attempt to photoshop out the ugly truths that struggle and poverty perpetuate. Denzel's brutal, up-hill, violent memories are out there for all to experience. When comparing his honest depiction of life to the fake, diamond-encrusted day to day commercial hip hop more typically betrays, his presence feels more relevant than ever. We caught up with young Denzel ahead of him attending the Yeesuz Florida show, and he told us why he wants absolutely nothing for Christmas, why getting expelled is good and about his softer, romantic side. Everyone loves a bad boy. Get comfortable.
You up to much today?
I'm going to the yeezus concert tonight.
What do you make of the Bound 2 video?
Aww man l didn't like it, cos l knew Kanye could do better.
Do you think Yeezy is the most important artist in hip hop at the moment?
Probably out of him and Drake, funny thing is, l didn't even used to like Drake.
It's been a big year for hip hop...
I've been through my own thing.
Who is the most important artist out there, for you?
Outkast. I've seen Big Boi in person, that was a big moment in my career, he came in and l put two fingers up and he put two fingers up like what's up, it was cool to meet him.
How does your music represent you?
Being an Aquarius, reality and imagination don't really get mixed up but they do merge, they sometimes need each other, so l take the stuff from reality that l grew up on, that l've been watching and stuff that plays on my mind and put it into one big story to make my stories interesting but very trippy. Me, l'm a weird person so my music is kind of weird but l want my music to be weird.
Do you experience life in an intense way?
Pretty much, I experience it in an intense way, growing up in Tennessee you tend to see a lot of shit that will never possibly be seen, you know when most people grow up you see slagging and drugs and prostitutes, you just see a lot of stuff.
Does the world still feel like a dangerous place to you?
Yeah it's a dangerous place, they always shooting over here.
Do you find the darker side of life more thrilling?
Of course the darker side feels more thrilling. Darkness is important if you were having fun all the time you wouldn't know what dark is.
I guess there is the risk though that liking the dark side leaves you in a grittier pace, prone to negativity. Do you feel like you're in a good place in your life now or do you feel like you're still in the midst of dealing with the violence you were exposed to as a kid?
I'm in a good position in my life, but you know, I'm still living in the same city and l want to get out of here. I won't be satisfied until l get out of here.
I wanted to chat through the story of how the track N64 came together...
The first sound you hear on that track is an original N64 beat. l was just writing to it and then that's how the chorus came about. I wrote all that and the chorus in about an hour maybe like half an hour and l called everyone in the room to listen to it and everybody liked it, everyone was like, this shit is hard, so then l recorded it all and my manger wanted to add more to it, so we got Nuri in on the track and added the news clip. I recorded it and we sent it off to our engineer and boom that's how the N64 track happened. We were talking about being socially aware and about the whole Trayvon situation, how he got killed for no reason and then Zimmerman was let go. That's some bullshit when then you see how Zimmerman is appearing in the news and being a violent person, and really, they let this person go, like seriously.
What are you focused on more at then moment, is it lyrics or the beat?
It is more lyrics, because l have to tell my story.
Is the music going to get darker and darker do you think?
Yeah it will be getting darker, cos it will be more real.
What's going to happen if suddenly you fall in love and it's brilliant and you end up really happy?
I'll write about that, it's not like l'm going to stop myself writing, shit I've made love songs. I'm just going to get better at writing love songs, and they're going to be strictly for females.
What's your favourite love song?
Smooth Operator by Sade; You've also got Sweetest Taboo and Prototype by Outkast, Pink and Blue from Outkast too, Erykah Badu. I like listening to shit like that, if l was ever to create love songs, I would want to create them like that so it can touch your soul.
What have you got planned for Christmas?
This Christmas is going to be crazy, l'm going to make sure everybody is good this Christmas.
What do you want for Christmas?
I don't want shit for Christmas, I just want to have a Christmas where l'm like 'hey, l'm not broke.' The best Christmas that l had was probably when I got my Xbox, when I first got an Xbox, it was like the very first Xbox when it came out, my Mum came up to my room and she had a big ass box and l was like 'oh my god it's an Xbox.'
Thanks for taking the time to chat.
You're welcome, l enjoyed it, oh and don't know if you did it but when Dark and Violent came out l think you guys were the first to post that.
Yeah that was us, big fan of the music.
I have to go cos my grandma is calling me. HOLD UP GRANDMA!!!!!!!!!!!!
Text Milly McMahon
Photography Devin Christopher