Denzel Curry is an American rapper and songwriter from Carol City, Florida who gained popularity after the release of his first two mixtapes, 'King Remembered' and 'King of the Mischievous South', Vol. 1'. Early on in his career, he got in touch with another fellow Carol City rapper SpaceGhostPurrp, who took him into his collaborative hip hop group ‘Raider Klan’ and helped him develop as an artist. After the group disbanded, Denzel Curry released his debut studio album ‘Nostalgic 64’ to critical acclaim and started to feature on other artists' work, such as those of Deniro Farrar and Dillon Cooper. The single 'Ultimate' from his debut EP '32 Zel/Planet Shrooms' became extremely popular and was certified Gold by RIAA. His second studio album 'Imperial' was also able to match the success of its earlier album. Recently, he released his second EP, '13', and is working on the follow-up third album, 'Ta13oo’. Over the course of seven-year career so far, he has released a number of other mixtapes as well, including 'Strictly 4 My R.V.I.D.X.R.Z.' and 'Mental Vendetta' with Lofty305. He has worked with artists such as Mike Dece, Twelve'len, Big Rube, Nell, J.K. the Reaper, Lil Ugly Mane, Mike G, Robb Bank$, Stephen A. Clark, Yung Simmie, Leonardo Safari, Rick Ross, Joey Badass and Fortebowie.
Childhood & Early Life
Denzel Rae Don Curry was born on February 16, 1995, in Carol City, Florida and spent the first 19 years of his life in Zone 3 of his native city with his parents and four brothers. He is of Bahamian and Native American descent; his father is a truck driver and his mother runs security for stadiums.
His parents were very much into music, and he grew up listening to songs from Funkadelics, Parliament, OutKast, Isaac Hayes, Marvin Gaye, and James Brown. His elder brother later introduced him to the music of Gucci Mane and Brick Squad.
He began writing poetry back when he was in the elementary school. He became interested in rap when he was in the sixth grade, and learnt how to rap and flow from his good friend Premi, who he met at a Boys & Girls Club.
He attended Design And Architecture High School in Miami, from where he was expelled two years later. This was a challenging time for him as his parents were separating, and his brothers were out in college or for jobs.
He then entered Miami Carol City Senior High School, where he focused on his music and started to gain popularity as a rapper. However, despite being busy on his music and shows, both his parents and his teachers convinced him to complete his graduation in 2013.
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While still in school, Denzel Curry began recording his raps with music playing in the background, and uploaded the tracks to his MySpace account. During this time, he listened to 'Blackland Radio 66.6' mixtape by SpaceGhostPurrp and became interested in meeting him upon learning that he is also from Carol City.
He was introduced to SpaceGhostPurrp via a friend named Mike Dece, who was in his collaborative hip hop group ‘Raider Klan’. After Denzel expressed his interest to join the group, he was immediately taken in and started doing live shows with the group.
Within a few weeks, he made his first mixtape 'King Remembered Underground Tape 1991–1995', a compilation of five tracks, and posted it online on September 24, 2011. His friend Dece advised him to take it down, add more tracks, and re-upload it on the group's webpage, where it was later made available for download due to fan demands.
The popularity of his first mixtape kick-started his music career and he soon followed it up with another mixtape called 'King of the Mischievous South Vol. 1 Underground Tape 1996', in 2012. The mixtape caught the attention of Earl Sweatshirt, who mentioned him in a tweet, as well as other members of Odd Future label.
He released his third mixtape, ‘Strictly for My R.V.I.D.X.R.S.’, after the murder of Trayvon Martin, who lived in the same neighborhood and went to the same school as him. Tupac Shakur’s ‘Strictly For My N.I.G.G.A.Z.’ was a direct inspiration for this album.
In 2013, he left the group ‘Raider Klan’ and worked to established himself as a solo artist. While many thought he was kicked out of the group, he told in an interview that he had decided to leave, and the group was subsequently disbanded.
His debut full-length album, ‘Nostalgic 64’, featuring guest appearances from artists like JK the Reaper, Lil Ugly Mane, Mike G, Nell, Robb Bank$, Stephen A. Clark, and Yung Simmie, was released on September 3, 2013.
In 2014, he was featured on the song ‘Bow Down’ from Deniro Farrar's ‘Rebirth’ EP and on ‘Eyes of the World’ from Dillon Cooper's ‘X:XX’ mixtape.
He started 2015 with the release of the lead single ‘Ultimate’ from his first double EP '32 Zel/Planet Shrooms' on January 1. The album, also featuring the song ‘Ice Age’, was released on June 9, 2015 by C9 Records.
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In 2016, he released the non-album single 'Flying Nimbus' featuring Lofty305, followed by his second full-length album 'Imperial', which was available for free to download and stream on SoundCloud on March 9, 2016. A deluxe version of the album was later re-released on Spotify on October 14, 2016.
Since May 2017, he took on the alter ego Zeltron to post cryptic messages on social media and released demo versions of the songs 'Hate Government', 'Equalizer', and 'ZELTRON 6 BILLION ft. Lil Ugly Mane'. All these songs, along with two new ones, were included on the EP '13', which was released on June 25, 2017.
Also in mid-2017, he announced his upcoming studio album, 'Ta13oo’, which uses '13' as a sampler and is scheduled to release in 2018. Since then, he has uploaded two demo clips of the songs 'SKY WALKER' and 'Sumo', even though whether these two are from his upcoming album is not certain.
Denzel Curry's debut studio album 'Nostalgic 64' received widespread critical acclaim upon its release. It was listed among top 10 albums of 2013 by Mike Madden from 'Pitchfork Magazine', who also rated the single 'Threatz' as the top individual track.
His second album 'Imperial' also earned him critical acclaim, with Stereogum describing it "a hazy, gurgling rap record that's clearly the work of an active mind". The single 'Ultimate' from his EP '32 Zel/Planet Shrooms' received Gold certification from RIAA for selling over 500k copies.
Awards & Achievements
Denzel Curry's album 'Imperial' was named in the 'Favorite Rap and Hip-Hop Albums' list by 'AllMusic 2017 Year In Review' chart.
He was featured on a cover of 'XXL' magazine as one of the celebrities on its annual Freshmen Class in 2016.
Denzel Curry was in a relationship with a girl for two years when he was in high school. After they broke up, he went into a deep depression for a long time.
Denzel Curry's favorite song from the album 'Imperial' is 'This Life'. He wrote the song soon after breaking up with his girlfriend and talked about what questions he would ask her if she were with him.