For those who do not know Denzel Curry, they better get to know the South Florida King as he can out rap mostly anyone that steps to the microphone, both lyrically and in his never-ending endurance. Through his earliest days of working his way up the food chain in the underground to now touring both locally and globally within such a short time, it is clear that Denzel Curry is here to stay. His newest project, 13 is an EP of sorts, it only has a run time of thirteen-minutes and is almost an homage to the old punk records of yesteryear where the tracks are short, the record is short, but the impact is monumental.
Opening with his first insightful look into the mind of Denzel Curry, “Bloodshed” is reminiscing of his usual quick style that is always a welcome addition and on 13, he still does an incredible job of making his voice become synonymous with the rather aggressive and blitzing style that has become such a staple in rap music today. Curry also worked with BADBADNOTGOOD recently in collaboration to bring to life one of his older singles, “Ultimate” which is an aggressive display of practically four-straight minutes of lyrical verses. However, distancing himself from the authentic instruments, on 13 Curry picks a beat selection that included more 808 percussion and clapping synthesizers or having an electronic style. On “Bloodshed” this is especially true as the production sounds similar in the style of Bones’ production where it has continual shifting 808’s and this warped system overlay for the backing instruments.
On the following track, “Hate Government” is one of the shortest tracks present on 13, but it is also one of the hardest hitting tracks present. Ever since being released as a single, it became an instant movement maker as the production is such a gritty masterpiece and it almost assaults the listener to even hear. The growling 808’s segue perfectly into the following track, “Equalizer”. Similar to “Bloodshed”, Denzel uses these rough cut 808 percussion drums that play with an oriental styled string instrument that plucks along and creates a beauty within the madness. Both Denzel Curry and Ronny J have dualistic approaches on their verses as well and this works substantially for both artists. Curry is more standoffish and appears as an overlord as he includes lines that describe, “Nothing is lovely, only get loneliness, phoniness only resides on the tongue. Sun is never radiant, coming undone, so instantaneous, it has begun. No way escaping it though, suicide thoughts with the murder I wrote”. Ronny J however, uses auto-tuning and almost sings his verse throughout which is a friendly switch up when compared to how Denzel Curry usually conducts himself.
The following track, “Heartless” is at first comedic and features Curry launches a slew of “boo boo boo boo boo” and “bah bah bah bah bah” to simulate some gun shots, but after multiple listens; the track becomes slightly annoying as Denzel mostly yells over the verse and it does not come off as approachable or even interesting. The instrumental is amazing and would have worked better if Denzel had just maybe tried a different style or even just let the instrumental play as the break in the music would have let some breathing room and even from the short run-time on 13, it would have been a great segue into the disgusting track that follows.
“Zeltron 6 Billion” is a behemoth and is by far the best track that is presented on 13, as Denzel Curry brings in the underground legend Lil Ugly Mane, who not only creates gold with anything he touches, but the two have a long history together as well. This is displayed in Ugly’s verse where he refers back to the alley’s of the track off of Lil Ugly Mane’s 2012 project, Mista Thug Isolation. Ugly Mane describes, “Miami back to Richmond, back to Cali, they gon’ find your body in the alley.” On the track, “Twistin’”, Ugly Mane sampled the Grim Sleeper where he tells LAPD, “Yes I’d like to report a murder, a dead body or something,” to where the LAPD correspondent replies “Where at?” and to where the Grim Sleeper replies, “In The Alley”. These references and the long history between both Ugly Mane and Denzel Curry is almost a fan service to anyone who has been following either Lil Ugly Mane or Denzel Curry, or even both as the one-liners and the tough verses that they both bring still manage to resonate even when the dust settles.
Denzel Curry does a fantastic job of staying relevant in a world full of unmentionables and 13 is just another step in the path that he continues to mold each day. From the rugged verses delivered, to the downright disgusting and dark production, to the final moments of 13; the new monument has been constructed, and Denzel Curry is the leader of the expedition.