Album Review: Denzel Curry - ZUU
The King of the Mischievous South, Denzel Curry, was born and raised in Carol City, Florida, also known as “the zoo” as it’s known as a concrete jungle and is ultimately the inspiration behind Curry’s fourth full-length studio album, ZUU.
ZUU is an artistically fired up album, released less than a year after Curry’s standout album TA13OO (2018) which was recognized as dark, complex and highly conceptual. Curry shut down the negativity associated with him being known just as “Ultimate”, his 2015 hit, with the release of TA1300, showing his ability to sing and be known as more than just a rapper. ZUU has set Curry’s status in stone as a creative artist as he further showcases his versatility and solidifies his position in the game.
The entirety of ZUU is freestyled by Curry. Denzel talks about ZUU in an interview with HotNewHipHop, saying he put his mind to mic “I just wanted to keep it simple and plain. Straight to the point. Just get down to business. Forget the dilly-dallying”. The fact that majority of ZUU is from off the top of Curry’s head shows how impressive this album is, the scope of his talent and reflects how intense his connection is to his hometown. Curry recently moved from South Florida to Los Angeles, finding the inspiration for ZUU in homesickness. ZUU is Miami-dade County through and through, from majority of the features, like, Rick Ross, Kiddo Marv and Sam Sneak originating from Florida to him referencing Carol City in nearly every song.
All twelve tracks have something different to them. From his opening track, ZUU having an A$AP Rocky feel to it, to WISH featuring Kiddo Marv having a nostalgic 90’s beat, to SHAKE 88 featuring Sam Sneak being a turn up anthem for the baddest of Curry’s female fan base and to P.A.T featuring PlayThatBoiZay mixing heavy metal with hardcore rap and it is catchy as hell. In ZUU, Curry has shown he can adapt and take on any style; all while keeping his distinct, abrasive Curry flavour that makes you want to nod your head and rage. The tracks that stand out amongst the twelve are SPEEDBOAT, RICKY and BIRDZ featuring Rick Ross.
These songs would be exhilarating to see Curry perform live and open that god damn mosh pit to as they can only be described as absolute bangers.
Curry has openly discussed in interviews his love-hate relationship with where he was raised; in one interview he says, “where I grew up, it wasn’t always negative. When I grew older, it became negative. It became super negative. I had to escape my own environment for my own survival”. You can hear the complexities of his ties to his hometown throughout the album, like in CAROLMART featuring Ice Billion Berg, he raps “I grew up in the city where most people have no goals / It’s cold-blooded n***** in a place that never snow /We’ll rob you for your chain, probably pistol-whip your ho / We carry hollow tips because it reflects what’s in my soul”.
However, his love and pride for his city stands out the most as he mentions Miami numerous times, like in the track WISH featuring Kiddo Marv he shouts out the late XXXTentacion, also a Miami native and former friend, rapping “Miami-dade on my motherf*cking back”. Regardless of how complex Curry’s relationship is with his city, it is unbreakable and it is refreshing to see Curry take on a collective mentality as it really feels like he released ZUU on behalf of every single person in Miami-dade County.
Despite all that odds that were pitted against him, Denzel Curry became a successful artist and with the release of ZUU, he is celebrating that. ZUU takes on a creative stance on the art of reminiscing and tells a story. ZUU shows that Denzel Curry has come full circle in accepting the good and the bad that came with his adolescence and growing up in South Florida and it is beautiful to hear & analyse. ZUU is consistently upbeat, energetic and raw. It is the perfect reverence to his hometown and it makes me excited to see what he is going to hit us with next.
Stream the album below, and see Denzel live in New Zealand this September.
Reviewed by: Breanna Tugaga-Rogers