Rappers on the Rise: Denzel Curry

By Peter Slattery

via Village Voice
via Village Voice

Denzel Curry is putting in work.

Last year in late October, Curry took the stage in Kimmel’s Eisner & Lubin Auditorium for NYU Program Board’s Pumpkin Fest. It was a small crowd, but Denzel put his all into the performance, ripping through mixtape cuts and tracks from his 2013 album, “Nostalgic 64.”

This October, it was a similar scene at the University of Wisconsin, with Curry and Deniro Farrar energetically ripping through a set as part of their Bow Down Tour in front of another lackluster crowd.

Hopefully Curry won’t be laboring in relative obscurity for long. The 19-year-old rapper has flexed serious rapping talent, whether it’s on his own projects, such as his three mixtapes, or show-stealing features on other rapper’s tracks, like Lil Ugly Mane’s “Twistin” or Farrar’s “Bow Down.” It’s only a matter of time before he makes it big.

Raised in Carol City in South Florida, Curry began rapping in middle school. By the time he was a teenager, he was affiliated with fellow Florida native SpaceGhostPurrp’s Raider Klan rap collective.

Much of his music resembles the dark, rough, Lo-Fi, 3 6 Mafia-influenced aesthetic treasured by Raider Klan artists like Purrp. Curry is also capable of making more experimental stuff, similar to the likes of former Raider Klan members Chris Travis and Xavier Wulf. Tracks like “Parents” from “Nostalgic 64represent a style unique to Curry himself, with the Florida MC spitting tongue-twisting rhymes about love, violence, moral codes, and family experiences over a propulsive, clattering beat.

Though Curry has been on the radar of rappers and hip hop heads for years, he’s yet to break through to a wider audience. Curry scored an internet hit with his searing posse cut “Threatz,” featuring southern MCs Yung Simmie and Robb Bank$. Despite the video’s nearly three million views on YouTube and cosigns from Waka Flocka Flame and Sway, his name is still not that well-known.

Denzel Curry’s rapping talents and eye for unique styles have already been proven by his many releases and features. Next, he needs a bigger machine behind him to spread his music. Curry chose to leave Raider Klan amicably in 2013 and remains an independent artist. Although he certainly has an underground following, there’s a next step to be taken.

Key Tracks: Parents, Threatz, Zone 3

Influenced By: 3 6 Mafia, Tupac, SpaceGhostPurrp

See Also: Deniro Farrar, Yung Simmie, Robb Bank$

Peter Slattery is a staff writer. Email him at music@nyunews.com.

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