Denzel Curry on a Nova Twins collaboration: “We are going to be working on more than music”

Before his "30 minutes of death" at Reading 2022, Carol City's Curry speaks to us wanting to take a hiatus, and "what he's got to do" to feel loved in the rap game

Ahead of performance on the last day of Reading Festival 2022 – or “30 minutes of death”, as he puts it – prolific Floridian rapper Denzel Curry had a lot to say to NME.

The former Big Read cover star still under-appreciated after his decade of hard graft, but he certainly received nothing but love when he made his main stage debut. We sat down for a quick chat with Curry to talk about playing at R+L, a potential collaboration with punk duo Nova Twins, and what else he has to do to seek universal appreciation.

NME: Hello Denzel. Are you excited for your set today?

Curry: “Man, it’s 30 minutes. 30 minutes is easy to me now. It’s not like I’m doing an hour. An hour isn’t even that bad. Somebody said, ‘When you’re doing two-hour sets, you’ve got to get ready for that’. I don’t feel like a lot of [my discography] needs to be played. I just need to get to the nitty-grit, like, ‘This is the set. These are the songs you know. Enjoy!’ and I’m out. Like I said, it’s 30 minutes… of death! I’ve just got to kill a set. That’s why I call it, ‘30 minutes of death’. You’ve got to compile all the songs that you know will kill.”

What does it feel like to bring people together?

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“It’s a blessing that God gave me. Even if it’s not at a show, just getting people together. I often have the tendency to get people together in the studio, stuff like that, getting people together to come to my crib and watch a fight. I just have a natural talent of getting people together so, that’s my thing.

“I just can’t take it for granted because the moment I do, somebody is out there training to take my place and I haven’t established my place yet in the world. I just keep going and keep doing what I wanna do.”

A Twitter interaction with Nova Twins suggests that you guys have a collaboration on the way – is that true?

“I haven’t got a song with Nova Twins, nah! We’re just gonna work on something that’s totally unexpected. I hollered at them about it, and they were down to do some shit, but I can’t tell you what it is right now. It’s not like regular music where it’s like, ‘Yeah! We’ve got a song together’. I’m clarifying that right now – we don’t have a song together, but what we are going to work on is going to be more than music.”

It’s summer and people on social media are already hailing ‘MELT MY EYEZ, SEE YOUR FUTURE‘ as album of the year. how does that feel?

“That’s also a testament to the talent that I have and all the hard work I put into the album. It’s been like that for a few years now. When it came down to ‘Ta13oo’, when it came down to ‘ZUU’, and now ‘Melt My Eyez, See Your Future’, there have been talks about [them being] the best new albums that have came out that year. That’s because I don’t let up. I don’t give a fuck who you are. That’s mainly what it is.

“I tell people I’m the greatest rapper alive. It’s because I know what the fuck I’m capable of, and everybody just listens to one thing [of mine] and thinks, ‘I’ve heard everything from him. He ain’t the best rapper alive. He ain’t this, he ain’t that’ – but, bitch, you don’t listen to me.”

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Credit: Andy Ford for NME

People need to get educated on your artistry…

“A lot of people don’t listen to my music; I’m just being real. A lot of people don’t know who the fuck I am. There are people that do, and the people that do, I’d be surprised that they listen to me. But the ones that don’t listen to my music, that you don’t expect to fuck with me or whatever, it’s just, ‘Cool’. When it comes down to my career, it’s either they know me for one viral song, whether it’s ‘Clout Cobain’ or whether it’s ‘Ultimate’, or they just know me for being affiliated with past rappers, or they listen to the XXL Freshmen shit and never listen to anything else again. But they know I kil’t that cypher.

“What the fuck, bro? What do I really gotta do? Do I gotta wear a bussdown? Do I need to stop talking about anime? Tell me what the fuck you want from me. I’m not gonna listen to you bitch because I know who the fuck I am, but bro, what the fuck do you want?”

What’s next for you, Denzel?

“After I had a serious talk with a homie of mine about taking a hiatus and he said this is where a lot of rappers fuck up. Everybody wants fast food, and then fans are fickle. So, I just took that and ran with it — but I’m not gonna kill myself over it. I’m just going to do what I’m gonna do and still provide.”

Check back at NME here for the latest news, reviews, photos, interviews and more from Reading & Leeds 2022.

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