13, Innovative and Refreshing

Kasey Flowers, Arts and Entertainment Editor

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DISCLAIMER: Clairemont High School in no way endorses nor does it advise for its students or any reader of this article to go out and listen to this album due to strong profanity.

Denzel Curry’s 13 is fearless and brilliant. It provides unvarnished and nuanced peek into the rapper’s artistic style and the direction his music will take in the future.

The first sounds we hear on 13 are the beginning of a storm, an unstoppable force of nature, powerful and raw. The Extended Play Record or EP’s cover art appears to be four identical images of Curry staring down at the listener, however, if you’ve been following Curry for a while, you would know the truth behind this cover. In actuality, these are Denzel’s four alter egos, Aquarius’ Killa, Raven Miyagi, Denny Cascade, and his most recent, Zeltron 6 Billion. The cover art  reveals a lot about the EP itself as this piece is the culmination of all of Denzel’s work up to this point and allows us a glimpse of what’s in store.

The destructive, unbridled, raw, and unpolished EP provides for 13 minutes of intensity and power that only Curry can deliver. From the first track Bloodshed, the listener knows they’re getting something different from mainstream Hip-Hop. What Curry delivers isn’t a beautiful melody or soft hitting lyrics, instead it is a grittiness and power that only he can really deliver. While other artists, namely fellow South Florida rapper XXXTentacion, provide the same raw, pure feeling with their music, Curry has the lyrical capability to propel the raw feeling even further.

When compared to his previous works, such as 2016’s Imperial  or 2013’s Nostalgic 64, it is clear that Curry has improved greatly. From his lyrical style to his unrelenting pounding of the beat with his cadence when he raps, Denzel has clearly improved. The pitfalls of his previous projects have been this style and his inability to tone it down, but Curry has embraced the aggression on 2017’s 13. This style is what makes this project so good; it’s refreshing to feel as if the artists is giving his pure vision in a project.  It is evident that Curry made what he wanted, an EP that appealed to him sonically and wasn’t filled with radio bait tracks.

13 is only five songs long and 13 minutes. In an era where artists are more concerned with the amount of streams they’re going to get off of a project and are willing to put subpar content out just for streams, this short concise EP is a breath of fresh air. Denzel isn’t toting a political agenda, even on his track Hate Government it feels more like the artist made what he wanted rather than what his label forced him to release.

Nonetheless 13 is not perfect by any means. Denzel’s aggressive unrelenting style can be off putting to some. The lack of melodies and and his focus on his lyrics are not something every mainstream Rap fans will like. The production is not smooth by any means and there are no big name features from artists like Kendrick Lamar or J Cole. This is a very underground project and for his fans, that is what’s great about it. In an era where so many rappers and producers sound alike it’s refreshing to find an oasis of originality in Denzel Curry. It’s what makes this EP worth listening to.

If you’re tired of the same repetition and want to be surprised and be kept on your feet with what you’re listening to, 13 is for you. Curry is able to fit many influences of previous era’s into his work while still putting his own spin on it. He’s an artist with originality and 13 is his vehicle to express it. It feels as if the alter ego of Zeltron is no longer confined to what the label wants Curry to make, and that is what makes 13 so good. This freedom and unrefined nature of the project are why it is so enticing. If you’re willing to take the the chance, give 13  a listen and let it sit; don’t make a judgement straight away. Just listen to the beauty that begins with Bloodshed.

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