Denzel Curry – We Wanted to Be Better Than Atlanta
Denzel Curry is at the forefront of the “trippy, psychedelic, crazy sh*t” that has turned South Florida rap into a movement. Here’s how he got here.
Florida is a famously strange land populated by sensational weirdos, and now they’ve all taken over hip-hop. Denzel Curry is as surprised as you are, and twice as delighted. The 22-year-old rapper?—?who graced XXL’s coveted Freshman Class cover last year?—?released his latest EP, titled 13, on Monday. The project is short, just five tracks, a mix of songs initially recorded years ago but only recently finished; and a couple of newer tracks, such as “Heartless,” which?—?I shit you not?—?is the closest I’ve ever heard a rapper come to singing opera. (Curry describes his “Heartless” performance as “a different flow,” which is him underselling full-on rapper mezzo by a lot.)
As brief as the EP is, 13 is a bit of a breather for Curry, who has spent the past six years making chaotic albums and mixtapes full of new-school adolescent rage. Curry raps in a rapid staccato that wavers between pouting and true rage, over bleak, brutal, obliterative trap booms and 32-bit-era video game bloops. Much of Curry’s music sounds like Ras Kass meeting the Chrono Trigger soundtrack. In the past year, such young and trippy vengeance has become hip-hop’s sound du jour, and Curry’s formative example has shaped the genre’s thrilling and rather unexpected punk rock moment.