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Denzel Curry Interview

Denzel Curry Interview

Originally published at Complex. Photography by James Harrison

Denzel Curry’s psychotropic world is a fluid concoction of 90s rap, Adult Swim cartoons, and illicit activity. The 20-year-old flows effortlessly over multi-coloured production ranging from Yeezus era beats to murky lo-fi. Within the same breath, he’ll recall experimenting with LSD, eulogise fallen comrades and shout-out Super Mario Bros. Raised in Miami’s infamous Zone 3, Curry’s music reflects an upbringing peppered with the innocence of a good home and the eye-opening violence that surrounded it.

The self-styled “Aquarius Killa” posted his debut mixtape on SpaceGhostPurrp’s website in 2011 and was invited to join Raider Klan while still in high school. His confident double-time raps and retro Memphis Horrorcore aesthetic quickly gained attention, but his parents insisted he focus on school. Curry released three projects before leaving the Klan to pursue a solo career and in 2013 dropped his debut Nostalgic 64. This year, Curry followed up with double EP 32Zel/Planet Shrooms, which bangs front to back. The projects also serve as a dedication to Denzel’s brother who was killed by a policeman’s taser and his friend Tiara Grant who was fatally shot during recording.

We caught up with Denzel before he tore shit down at his London show last week. The undeniably passionate MC discussed getting a million plays on Soundcloud, mixing art with music, why he keeps his collaborations in-house and how personal tragedy impacts his content.

Your family is from the Bahamas. Did you grow up with that culture?

I grew up in South Florida. It’s like a cultural melting pot where I come from, but my people’s are of Bahamian descent and I have cousins in Nassau on the other side that stays in the Bahamas. It’s both Bahamian on my mom and dad’s side.

You’ve been open about not being a gangsta. Your lyrics are based on your environment as well as people you know. What kept you away from the streets growing up?

My parents. Even though they had disputes and they had their problems, I would say yeah, they’re good parents. Like my moms is very independent, my father is very independent and that’s pretty much where I get it from. They always stress that you should make something [of yourself]. You don’t want to stay in the same crib until you’re like 23. I’m not trying to do that.

Jeezy ft Jay Z - Seen It All

Originally published at Passionweiss

Presidential parties, museum tours and marriage ensure we won’t be getting ‘98 Jigga bars anytime soon, but in 2014 “Seen It All” is as close as it gets. Jay-Z shunned Kanye’s wedding to the Kardashian dynasty last month, so there’s a chance Jeezy may become his new best friend. They’ve worn matching pleather jackets, they knew Pimp C but probably locked their car door when talking to him and they’ve been collaborating since Jeezy’s 2006 single “Go Crazy.” While this evidence may be circumstantial, the duo has a solid track record and the rap Proleteriat needs a break from Jay’s rhymes for the 1%.

The Snowman will never be a lyrical scientist. He’s found his rap formula, which is strictly limited to raspy boasts and A-grade adlibs. No matter how many water features Jeezy adds to the mansion, he’ll never stop rhyming about selling drugs. “Seen it all,” delivers accordingly and Jeezy’s biggest decision is whether to blow the cash at Atlanta strip-club institution Magic or at the mall. His verse is nothing special, but most of us clicked play to hear his guest feature verse anyway.

Then it happens, Jay swoops in during the 1.30 mark and it’s tough to believe these bars came from the Magna Carter Holy Fail sessions. There’s no blatant flow jacking or overdone Basquiat references, just tales of his dope-boy past life over a melancholic instrumental. Jay-Z excels on this track because unlike Jeezy, he refers to specific experiences as a felon. There’s drug connects in Saint Thomas, expanding his fledging empire to Maryland, his uncle’s stabbing and more memories that make you thankful you weren’t Shawn Corey Carter before the fame. Despite snubbing DJ Khaled’s crew for the “They Don’t Love You No More” shoot, he might even attend the video for this one. While no one is proclaiming this as Mr Beyonce’s comeback, Jay can still deliver.