Denzel Curry – ‘ZUU’ review

The 24-year-old Floridian rapper combines dreamy, ethereal beats with hard-hitting sounds and rhymes to relay his unique – and compelling – life story

As we tentatively edge towards sunshine, parties, and minimal clothing, Denzel Curry delivers an album fit to be the soundtrack of summer 2019. Since the enormous success of the catchy yet sinister single ‘Clout Cobain’ and his sophomore album, ‘Taboo’, the 24-year-old rapper has clearly been ready to take his place in the pantheon of greats.

This beautifully crafted homage to his home state, Florida, is seen through his lyrics and backing tracks. ‘CAROLMART’ uses a sample of Trina and Plies’ ‘So Fresh’ as he raps about the Floridian culture and the influences on his music. He states that he “was raised off of Trina, Trick, Rick, and Plies” – all Florida rap veterans. These legends’ boastful and blunt nature of can be seen in Denzel’s whole delivery across this album. ‘BIRDZ’, which features fellow Miami native Rick Ross, highlights the troublesome corruption in their hometown. Denzel refers to his neighbourhood, Carol City, as “city full of vultures, city full of Zoes / City full of gangsters that’s stickin’ to the code”, documenting the violence he grew up around and had to transcend to be the success this album proves he’s become.

He manipulates his voice in fascinating and inventive ways. For example, on the vivacious club anthem, ‘SHAKE 88’, he autotunes himself to create a persona of his stereotypical Floridian party girl. This higher-pitched vocal polarises the hoarse screeching Denzel adopts on ‘P.A.T’, which is reminiscent of a screamo song. This may be discomforting for some, but it’s part of Denzel Curry’s USP.

Overall, he has created a musical representation of his upbringing in the Sunshine state, evoking its intricate culture. His mixture of smoother, dreamier beats in opposition with harder-hitting and chest-bouncing ones create an aural journey and explanation as to why he is “real-ass n***a from the 305”.

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