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Stars & Hype Forever: Denzel Curry

Stars & Hype Forever: Denzel Curry


Stars & Hype Forever is your in-depth guide to what’s next in hip hop. Each week we profile an artist you need to know about, and arm you with the essential artillery to decide if they’re the real deal, or just hype. To help readers make sense of the spectrum, curators Andriana and Yo! Adrian weigh in on each week’s talent, by assigning them a blanged out hypeability score at the very end.

It’s week three of Stars & Hype and we’re getting ghoulishly heavy with Miami’s quickest lyricist, Denzel Curry. Tropical vibes and karate by the water was on volume three’s itinerary, along with talks of Curry’s debut album Nostalgic 64, gun control in Florida, his multiple personalities, and the hardest bars he’s spit to date. Enter the samurai, this is Stars & Hype Forever.

Illustration of Denzel Curry as pharaoh of the universe for Stars & Hype Forever. Art by Mike Lukowski.

AKA: Aquarius Killa, Raven Miyagi, The Universe Gangsta, Cascade
Reppin’: Carol City (Zone 3), Florida
Beginnings: Learning to rap at the age of 12 while at summer camp, Denzel Curry became one of the founding members (he’s also the youngest) of SpaceGhopstPurrp’s Raider Klan, which is comprised of a talented group of Carol City rappers and producers.
The Hype: Quickly singled out as one of the most promising members of Raider Klan (many argue his rap skills are superior to SpaceGhostPurrp’s), Denzel Curry has amassed an online cult following of devoted fans clinging to his dirty South influenced verses over bass heavy trap beats. His debut album Nostalgic 64 dropped on Sept. 3rd and reached the #21 spot on the iTunes hip hop chart within a day. Those up on Curry and his double entendre lyrics being fired off at lightning speed have been waiting in anticipation for the moment they can say they knew about him way back when.

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Photo of Denzel Curry for Stars & Hype Forever doing karate, shot by Devin Christopher.

The Lowdown:

Adrian Says:

What’s not to like about Denzel Curry? The young lyricist is undoubtedly a star in the making. Right off the bat what stands out most is his unique flow, borrowing tidbits of his influences while mixing them all into one nasty concoction all his own. The Carol City native’s originality is reflected in the many alter egos he embodies, each one significantly different than the other. Scratch the surface of his rhymes and you will find much more, bars laced with depth; any given line can have several meanings. It seems as though he hasn’t collaborated with anyone who can match his level of rapping, because anyone that jumps on a track with him can expect to be adequately embarrassed. (Rolling eyes at Yung Lean.)

DC’s debut album Nostalgic 64 is a collective work of art that sees Curry digging into the darkest corners of his brain to shine light on the dangerous everyday life in his native city. While a lot of the album is hellish, he also spits some of the waviest southern player shit I’ve heard in quite some time on cuts like “Denny Cascade.” N64 has its highlights, but there is certainly room for Curry to grow. After all, he’s only 18 years old. I honestly can’t remember the last time I was this excited about a rapper from the Sunshine State, if ever. The hype is real, Denzel Curry is to rap what Ken Griffey Jr. was to Major League Baseball in 1989. We’re all about to witness greatness.

Dre Says:

Well since YO! Adrian basically said most of what I wanted to say, I’ll just add a few last points. Straight up Denzel Curry scares me. And it’s not just his lyrical content that’s terrifying. After listening to his music, the young MC’s depth and potential for greatness strikes a chord that is paramount beyond belief. There are good rappers, and there are great rappers. DC’s no filler lyrics and triple-time flows play a large part in that separation. Of course there are more than a few rappers that speak in double entendres, but to do so with such intensity, well I can only name a few.

Every bar is a streaming flow of consciousness that other rappers just don’t have the mental capacity to comprehend. I’m talking Shabazz Palaces vibes. I really don’t want to hear anyone but Curry when it comes to collaborations, it’s just not fair. In interviews he exercises massive amounts of restraint which could come off as basic, but really, he has a lot to say — he’s simply looking for the right audience. He’s smart and has a vision, and in the right setting, I could see him revolutionizing much more than just hip hop.

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