Denzel Curry pays tribute to his home town, Carol City, Florida, in his most inspiring, progressive album yet.
The hip-hop artist proved himself a master of many styles after his last album Ta13oo explored three different theses: the light, the grey, and the dark. Denzel has successfully dabbled in hip hop, rap, experimental hip hop, trap, and punk rap during his solo career that began in 2013.
This time the 12-track album developed an intense sound in each song while advancing his previous styles. Denzel revealed the entirety of ZUU is freestyle, declaring pen and paper as an unnecessary “middleman.”
The album has an impressively experimental tone, while not only using all his previous styles in one album but creating an entirely new and vigorous sound of its own, particularly towards the end as the experimental side of his music becomes more prominent.
Denzel successfully tells a highly personal story, not through profound lyrics, but by addressing his past and hometown directly. Behind the lyrics lies a mix of trap, voice overs, bass, and various beats. He is accompanied by various artists including Tay Keith, PlayThatBoiZay, and many more.
Prior to the album release, Denzel released two singles: RICKY and SPEEDBOAT. These confirmed that the album would be about his hometown, and while RICKY explores the family aspects of his upbringing in tribute to his father, the chorus has a hard-hitting bass orientated sound.
The verses thrive off the lively, catchy hook. SPEEDBOAT discusses the real-life tragedies of growing up in Carol City and discusses the death of his personal friend and worldwide famous artist XXXTENTACION. The constant beat supports the steady, fast paced, and controlled tone alongside it.
The album includes borderline punk rap in BIRDZ, P.A.T and CAROLMART, as he blurs the line between rock and rap. Denzel has explored provocative anger behind his beats previously and it brings raw energy to the album.
SHAKE 88 and P.A.T fully explore his newly experimental style for the end of the album, creating an alternative hip hop sound. This is where Denzel can be seen to break the idea of music being confined to genres. It could be compared to Kanye West or BROCKHAMPTON, mixing auto tuned voices and more mainstream music together, making a strong, cutting edge sound.
Alongside these impressive songs, Denzel has shorter songs and interludes that bridge the main breathtakingly potent sound in the album with slower paced, smoother sounds. Although they may not carry the album, they are certainly necessary to its tone. The album is full of passion, variety and power.