Denzel Curry is most commonly known as the musician behind the song “Ultimate” which was used in many memes on vine, but his latest album “TA13OO” has solidified him as one of the leading South Floridian rappers in the industry.
Curry started his career on the music platform SoundCloud, but unlike many SoundCloud rappers his style is distinct: he spits rapid verses with well crafted lyrics, and almost all of his songs feature heavy and deep trap style bass that is sometimes discordant and often distorted.
“Ta13OO,” Curry’s third album, showcases his versatility with a wide variety of sounds and styles ranging from hard-hitting bangers to melodic and harmonic songs.
The album is split into three parts, acting as a gradient from light to dark: Act I is the light, Act II is the gray, and Act III is the dark. The first song of the light section is “TABOO | TA13OO” (the song for which the album was named); though being placed in the light part of the album, it is a very haunting song about a girl Curry is in love with and her dark past.
Curry sings on this track and his verses are very melodic, an uncommon occurrence in his music, and in the background there are airy vocals and echoing guitar that only enhance the gloominess of it all.
This break from Curry’s usual style is off-putting, though well done and shows he can produce a great song that doesn’t consist of rapid-fire execution. It is an artistically complex track that deals with a tough subject matter, but also makes the listener oddly want to sing along. It also sets an unsettling tone for that album and leaves the listener questioning: if this is in the light part, then what is in the dark?
“CLOUT COBAIN | CLOUT CO13AIN” is definitely the most popular song on the album, coming from Act II; it has a slow trap style that, again, deviates from Curry’s usual style.
The instrumental is a bit mainstream, but the song stands out due to it’s very clever lyrics and topic.
The song heavily references Kurt Cobain and relates Curry’s struggle to cope with fame to Cobain’s; the song deals with the negative aspects of having “clout” in today’s society and how it affects relationships with others.
Unlike many popular songs by trap artists that touch upon darker matters, it doesn’t sound like Curry is whining or feeling sorry for himself.
The music video for this song by Zev Deans is aesthetically pleasing and cinematic: it features Curry with clown face paint performing for a hyper-critical circus audience that mimics a concert setting, symbolizing how, often times, the public has no regard for the feelings of performers and treats them as if they are just sources of entertainment.
Curry also expresses his anger and frustration with the current social and political climate in America in his song “SIRENS | S1RENZ” featuring J.I.D. and Billie Eilish. It details his own experiences with police brutality: his brother was killed by a police officer, and he attended the same high school as Trayvon Martin.
He talks about Donald Trump and his negative effect not only on the country, but also on Curry’s own life and views on the world.
It is a very powerful, relatable piece as Curry articulates how frustrating it feels at times to be an American today when so many people are ignorant or simply don’t care about how their actions affect others.
Every song in ACT III is angry and harsh which is understandably why he called this the dark part of the album.
The Ronny-J produced “BLACK METAL TERRORIST | 13 M T” is not for everyone, but no one can deny that it is artistically done.
The lyrics have meaning and are skillfully written; the song gives the listener a bit of an adrenaline rush and evokes the feeling of darkness promised in this act.
“PERCS | PERCZ” is a perfect example of Curry’s classic hostile beats, and his rapping is so quick that it takes multiple listens to catch everything he is saying. This song calls out the music industry and his competitors for being inauthentic, just following trends to get famous instead of focusing on the art.
“TA13OO” is easily the best work of Denzel Curry’s career; it is an incredibly diverse album that consists of brilliant tracks that appeal to a wide audience. It takes many unexpected directions, and Curry experiments with different sounds and styles while still staying true to his artistry.