Catch up on some of Denzel Curry's essential anthems.
Denzel Curryhas officially released “Ricky” upon us, a reminder of his presence in the game. And while TA13OO proved the scope of his artistic versatility, many of his core followers have come to rely on his signature bangers. From the early days of Nostalgic 64, to the viral fame of “Ultimate,” to the sparing yet damn-near apocalyptic chapters of TA13OO’s layered odyssey, Denzel has amassed himself quite the collection. In honor of “Ricky,” and by proxy, the project it shall likely signal, we’ve assembled a list of some quintessential Denzel bangers, delivered with one of the game’s most deadly combinations: an old-head’s penchant for lyricism and unmitigated youthful exuberance.
Perhaps not a banger in the traditional sense, Denzel Curry’s Nostalgic 64 highlight “Parents” is more understated in its approach. Up-tempo, percussive, and eerie, Denzel rides the instrumental with an effortless nursery rhyme flow, he somehow transforms a cautionary tale into a simmering, head-knocking anthem.
THREATZ Ft. Yung Simmie & Robb Bank$
Raider Klan may not be the set currently, but it once was, and what a glorious reign they had. With “Threatz” emerging as the pivotal theme music, Denzel offered up a counter to those daring to threaten his good name: a retaliatory threat of his own. Back by a pre-fame instrumental from Ronny J, the distorted synthesizers and aggressive lyrics laid the foundation for Denzel’s “Ultimate,” and stands as one of the most defining songs of his young career.
Only Denzel Curry can combine geek-heavy lyrics, a horrorcore piano line, and domineering percussion so effectively. Where “Threatz” was overt in its aggression, “N64” finds Denzel steering the course through his tense vocal performance, keeping a raw and borderline explosive energy throughout. Many likely came to appreciate this one as a “gateway” into Denzel’s music, and it remains an effective reminder of a darker, Eminem-esque, stylistic direction long-dormant.
Another dark banger, this one stemming from Zeltron’s 32 Zel project. Once again taking to a Ronny J instrumental, Denzel navigates gothic pianos and fifties science-fiction loops with technical proficiency; once again, he showcases a unique ability to craft lyrically dense bangers, forsaking the plague of “corniness” through sheer charisma and a clever ear for beats.
No explanation required.
Problematic title aside, “Gook” rang in Imperial on a blistering note. By this point, Denzel had already begun transitioning into a more wide-ranging artist, so to hear a banger evocative of his early days successfully triggered bouts of nostalgia (64) in his fans. The fact that Denzel went on to give this the visual treatment speaks to its immediacy, and many hold “Gook” in high regards as an Imperial standout.
SICK & TIRED
Directly following “Gook” in a one-two combo, “Sick & Tired” is the finishing blow to an already potent haymaker. Denzel’s brilliant vocal performance goes a long way in adding a raw sense of spirit to this one, as he plays off Ronny J and FnZ’s melancholic instrumental. Backed by a baseline of breakneck percussion, Denzel allows this one to flourish without pushing his own microphone past the point of distortion.
EQUALIZER ft RONNY J
A short and sweet addition to the canon, “Equalizer” shines in the palpable tension it creates. Vocally, Denzel growls his way through a bouncy instrumental, before Ronny J holds it down with a melodic closing verse. Given the collaborative history both men have shared since their formative days, “Equalizer” marks a pivotal moment in Floridian hip-hop lore, in which two longtime sparring partners trade bars as friends and equals.
The closing chapter of TA13OO’s opening act served a dual purpose. A) transition into the album’s darker thematic core, and B) a reminder that Denzel hasn’t lost a step where crafting raucous live anthems are concerned. With a brilliantly simple simile at its epicenter, “SUMO” carries the tradition of “N64,” once again pairing on geek-friendly lyricism with genuinely intimidating energy.
In the climactic stages of TA13OO, Denzel takes a moment to offer up a few moments of honesty amid "PERCS," one of the project's most vicious singles. Where some have faltered in their delivery of an anti-drug message, Denzel never comes off as condescending or preachy, bolstering his position through sheer technical prowess. With a dedication to his brother Tree grounding the track in reality, "PERCS" is a rare breed of banger that resonates on an emotional level, while still managing to have a spot of fun.