talking memes and collaborations with denzel curry

Ahead of his set at this weekend’s Lovebox festival, we caught up with Florida-born rapper Denzel Curry.

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12 July 2016, 11:40pm

Born and raised in Carol City, Florida, 21-year-old rapper Denzel Curry has had fire in his belly from a young age, rapping from just 12-years-old. Inspired by Floridian rappers like Rick Ross, Curry is carving out his own musical identity, determined to break away from the boundaries of genre with his dark, gritty sounds and hard-hitting lyrics. After the release of his widely praised album Imperial, last week Curry gave his fans something else to shout about, dropping a new posse cut single ULTRA featuring some of his oldest collaborators including Nell, Rell, Yung Kane and Slikk. We had a catch up with Denzel to chat about memes and collaborations ahead of his set at this weekend's Lovebox Festival.

How and why did you start rapping?
I was about 12, but I started taking it more seriously at 16. Everybody was down on me saying I can't rap, so I wanted to show everybody that I could actually do this. That's what motivated me. This is my version of poetry.

What were you like when you were younger?
Annoying as fuck pretty much. All over the place and not as chill. But I learned. Certain things you've got to do at certain times in certain places.

Can you tell us a bit about your new track, ULTRA which dropped last week?
ULTRA is a posse cut featuring everybody that I've worked with over the years, like in the old Raider Clan days. Nell just got out of prison the same day we recorded that track. So we all went to the studio, Yung Kane, Nell, Rell, Slikk and myself and we were going through some Ronny J beats and created ULTRA. Everybody was just writing in the studio. I've known them all since I was 16, pretty much. Slikk got me with his people, taking me in when I was young as fuck. Then I met Nell and Rell around that same time when I was like 17 because Rell and Nell were known for their reputation in rap throughout Carol City.

Do you like working with a lot of people when you make music?
I like working with a select few. Usually it's the people I've been working with for a while, or somebody who I always wanted to work with. But really it's just like; if I catch a vibe with you then we've got some shit to do together.

If you could collaborate with anyone alive or dead who would it be?
2Pac.

I saw some pretty good meme responses to your new track. One of a house on fire, and another of blurred Mr. Krabs. What's your favourite meme?
Probably the Mr. Krabs one. That one, and there's another other one that's of a puppet that's turning slowly like "oh my god". That shit is funny.

You're playing at Lovebox festival in London next week. Are you looking forward to coming to London?
Hell yeah! I've been to London maybe three, four times I think. The only place I haven't been to is Camden. I spent a lot of time in London during my birthday earlier this year.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Keep snapping and keep evolving. Don't bully yourself.

You've said before that you think of yourself as an outsider. What do you mean by that?
It's a personal thing. I just feel like nobody truly understands who I am as a person. They think it's one thing, but they get another. I feel like nobody fully comprehends who I am as a person, as a man, as a living organism in this world.

What are your ambitions for the future?
To get on the same level as Drake, J. Cole and Kendrick. I want to go hard as possible. I want to get better at freestyling, to be writing better songs. I want to talk about a lot more shit, I'm going to really dive in and grow. I'm only 21-years-old right now, and I can't wait until people see me at 25 when I start really doing what I'm supposed to do.

For a chance to see Denzel Curry at this weekend's Lovebox Festival, enter our competition to win two VIP tickets.

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Text Lula Ososki