Interviewed by Jibril Osman
Carol City’s Denzel Curry recently released his 3rd studio album, “TA1300” months ago and since its release, has gotten both critical acclaim from fans and critics alike. And a month ago, the Florida native celebrated the five-year anniversary of his debut album, “Nostaglia 64.” Currently on tour supporting the new album, Curry touched down in Toronto for two shows at Adelaide Hall and before his set for his second show, I sat down with the rapper to talk about the Florida music scene when he was growing up, what got him into music, the beginning of Soundcloud and his debut album, his track “Ultimate” blowing up and his new album.
So, in the early stages, can you tell me about the Florida music culture and what drew you into becoming an artist?
I mean I was always doing poetry when I was a kid and then when I was in the 6th grade, I got into rapping because of my homie Demetrius and then I really learned how to rap through another friend of mine and through him, that’s how I learned about it and started doing it. And the music scene in Miami, you know, Trina, Rick Ross, Trick Daddy, all that stuff. And then with me coming up, it was like at first, no one wanted to work with me, until SpaceGhostPurpp wanted to work with me and then I started snapping and it became this whole big underground movement. That’s why you have people like Ski Mask The Slump Gawd and XXXtentacion after, but Raider Klan was the first to do it.
And I know we touched on it briefly before the interview started, but to bring it back up, your debut album, “Nostaglia 64” celebrated its five-year anniversary last month, looking back, what does the project mean to you?
It’s the beginning of everything. I didn’t know how many people it spawned and how many people got inspired by it, you know listening to “Threatz” and “Zone 3” and “Dark and Violent” and one of the first albums that hit Soundcloud before this whole Soundcloud was a thing and the legacy that it left behind is amazing. I got people to this day asking me about when is “Nostalgia 64” coming back on iTunes and it’s going to come back, but back to what I was saying, it’s the album that means a lot to me because this album is the one that set everything off and really opened the eyes to Florida.
Yeah and one of my favourite songs off the album, if not my favourite song, “Zone 3” you talk about Trayvon Martin and I know you were in the school walkout at Carol City High when it was happening and I know you brought him up again on the new album, can you touch upon that?
The walkout was crazy because first it happened at the back of the school, they were doing this rally and then it went from one kid to a whole bunch of kids just marching in the streets for that. And a bus had to pick up people back to the school because they didn’t know it was happening. And around that time and on “Zone 3” I had no choice but to talk about it because it was news to me. Like I was really going through it.
Now pushing forward, when you released “Ultimate” did you anticipate it becoming what it eventually became and blowing up the way it did?
No, no, I just dropped it for fun. I dropped that song just because I felt like it was a fun thing to do. I dropped it at like 4 in the morning and it ended up getting like 500k over night and that was the quickest I did numbers in my life, I was like woah. And then it became this big thing with the bottle flip videos and the memes and I was like woah, this is crazy.
Yeah, when I heard the song, I knew immediately it was a banger and then it like snowballed.
Also, it gave me backlash too because people thought that was it for me. And I know I got a strong ass catalogue.
And on the remix of the track, I know Juicy J hopped on, how did that come about?
Juicy J, became a part of it when we were doing sample clearances for the project. It was one sample that he didn’t know that I knew and that we wanted to get cleared and he cleared it an also sent us a song that was me, Wiz Khalifa and him and that became a big thing and then he was on the remix.
Now to the new album, TA1300, can you tell me the process behind making it and why you chose to have the features you did on the album?
Well each feature I have on the album is strategic because they all represented a part of the album I was in or the mood I was in. So, having J.I.D on one of the songs to talk real issues, having Goldink on a much happier dance track and then having Zillakami and JPEGMAFIA on the track because their energy is crazy and matches my mood, so it was all strategic so it could all fit the theme, the scoring because the album is kind of like a film or a movie if you think about it.
And on the note of your album representing something and being meaningful, I know you touched upon the late Lil Peep and you said that even after his death people are still doing drugs, can you touch upon that?
Yeah, nothing has changed since Lil Peep has died, you can see in the game right now. Like Mac Miller died, like a lot of people die because of drugs dude. And I knew Mac, he was a cool dude and I can’t really speak too much on him because there’s a lot of people that died. Like X died because he got murdered and I was really close to him. And with Lil Peep, first time I meet Lil Peep was the last time I meet Lil Peep and he was following me for a minute, and same with Fredo Santana, first time I meet him was the last time I met him and that was back in 2012.
Yeah and I know these deaths are still fresh in people’s minds and yours, so I don’t want touch on these deaths too much, but I also heard you moved out of Florida?
Yeah, I’m never going back. Just being real, it’s a death trap.
Now back to the album, how do you feel like the response has been since it’s release?
I mean I just searched “TA13OO” to see how it was doing and like it was on Metacritic and it got like an 85 out of a 100, so I was like woah that’s good for Metacritic, so that mean that’s a really good thing and that it’s critically acclaimed. So, that’s a really good thing and I know it’s going to catch on more because I got more videos coming out.
And talking about music videos, can you talk about Clout Cobain?
Let me tell you about Clout Cobain, I tell this to everyone. It’s art. It’s up to your perception of what it means. Me, it’s a circus, that’s it.
That’s it? The circus of clout.
Now on the tour, are there stand out songs that you perform and you’re getting the best reaction from that specific song or has it been generally a vibe throughout playing the album?
Well people are vibing with the album regardless. There is one song that should have made the album that didn’t make it and that’s “Black Balloons 2.”
And will it eventually be released?
Yeah it will. And you guys will know when it’s out, it’s going to be epic when it comes out. I know for a fact.