Lately, it seems that SoFla's rap community is experiencing a renaissance. From Spaceghostpurrp to Robb Bank$, as Miami continues to grow, it's also managed to maintain a healthy hip-hop scene. One of the most talented rappers in Miami (and the rap game in general) is Denzel Aquarius Killa Curry.
Denzel's released a couple of noteworthy mixtapes, including King Remembered and Strictly 4 My Raiderz. His style inherits a lot from Memphis and Houston's rap scene, as well as bouncing on a crisscross Big L-like flow. Denzel has a new mixtape coming out called Nostalgic 64 and he'll be performing at Basel Castle this Saturday in Miami.
We got a chance to speak to him about everything, from N64 games to singing.
New Times: Where did you grow up and do you still live there now?
Denzel Curry: I grew up in Blackland Carol City Zone 3, Miami-Dade County, and, yeah, I still live here.
Growing up, what were you listening to?
My parents use to play a lot of soul and R&B around the house but my brothers were always on that rap shit, and I just grew with it and it was cool. I'd say albums like Superfly from Curtis Mayfield to Goodie Mob, Jeezy, Outkast, and Trick Daddy was what was basically playing in the house... Oh, and Soulja Slim. My parents played the oldies like James Brown, Isaac Hayes, et cetera.
It seems like Raider Klan, in general, is fascinated with the past and nostalgia. From the production (DJ Screw and Triple 6-influenced) to the Mortal Kombat samples, and now you got a tape coming out that references Nintendo 64. What's the force behind that nostalgia? Are you into hip-hop/rap currently?
The force behind nostalgic 64 is for the '90s generation for the '90s babies who was brought up on the system, and it also talks about the things a young black male from the hood faces, well problems that everyone goes through.
Tell me a bit about Nostalgic 64. Who's gonna be on it? What producers do you have on it?
So far, I have Nell, J.K. the Rapper, Yung Simmie, Robb Bank$, Spaceghostpurrp, hopefully, J. Nics, and Mike G. from Odd Future.
What are some of your favorite N64 games?
I'd definitely say 007 Golden Eye (I make reference to the Golden Gun on "Dark & Violent"), Legend of Zelda ocarina of time, Super Smash Brothers, and Blitz. Those games was the shit.
I know you produce some beats, too. What got you to start making beats?
Mr. B the Poshstronaut, Purrp, and Nuri produced for Freebase from Metro Zu, a tape and a song me and Supa Sortahuman did. Seeing Poshstronaut or any of the Zu dudes at work is simply amazing. So Lofty, Ruben, Mr. B, and Freebase taught me how to make beats on their program.
On Strictly 4 My Raiderz, there were some tracks with singing vocals. Was that you? Do you sing on this tape?
Yes, I do sing. I used to sing in the church choir when I was a young man, and I can't tell you the other answer. You just going have to find out.
An obvious inspiration of yours is Houston rap, but sometimes I hear Big L in your raps. Do you get down to L, and NY rap in general?
Of course, some of the first underground rappers I heard when I was in seventh grade was from NY, so yes. And I'm a big fan of Big L, God rest his soul. He was the reason why I like switching up flows because he was so good at it.
Tell me a bit about The LVND and what message you were trying to get across. What inspired you to make a short film?
The film is basically how I see things in my subconscious, like a psychological thriller basically, and dark twisted fantasy inspired it. If I do make another thing like The LVND, it will be more epic.
I saw you a while back at Ricochet Lounge with Simmie and the crew, and it was a wild show. Do you think there's a whole other element to your music when you do it live? Like I know this is Simmie's tune, but Florida Nigga Mentality goes off on another level when you hear it at a club.
I think there is, because one time, when I finished performing with a friend of mine named Lowa Letta Lofty, he told me it reminded him of some Wu-Tang Clan shit, and I was like that's cool.
We saw a photo with you and Earl Sweatshirt a while back. Are you doing some collabo work with OFWGKTA?
Mike G. is going to be on the tape. I sent him the track and called him. He said he liked it, and said he was going get it done soon as I send him the one with vocals. So that was dope, and I'm also a big fan of O.F.
Basel Castle. With Purity Ring, Twin Shadow, Trinidad James, and others. Saturday, December 8. Overthrow Castle, 51 NW 20th St., Miami. Doors open at 4 p.m. and tickets cost $15 to $25 plus fees. RSVP for free entry before 8. Visit baselcastle.theoverthrow.com.
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