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 students, or any reader of this article to listen to this album due to strong profanity.

Denzel Curry’s 13 is a fearless and brilliant album. 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 that is both 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 can spot the truth. 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 it is the culmination of all of Denzel’s work up provides a glimpse of what’s in store.

The destructive, unbridled, raw, and unpolished EP provides for thirteen minutes of intensity and power that only Curry can deliver. From the very first track, Bloodshed, the it becomes clear that this album is different from mainstream hip-hop. What Curry delivers isn’t a beautiful melody or soft hitting lyrics, instead he provides unique grittiness and power. 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 emotion 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, it’s obvious that Denzel has improved. Unlike in previous albums, Curry did not attempt to control his passion and aggressive music style, and that is what sets this EP apart. This new 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 thirteen minutes. In an era where artists are more concerned with the number of streams their songs are going to get than the quality of their album, this short EP is a breath of fresh air. Denzel isn’t toting a political agenda; he’s just focused on creating good music. 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. Denzel’s aggressive and unrelenting style can be too much for some listeners. The lack of melodies and his focus on his lyrics are not something every mainstream rap fan will enjoy. 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 makes it great. 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, 13 is for you. Curry is able to fit many influences of previous eras of hip-hop 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 Curry’s label wants him to make, and that is what makes 13 so good. The freedom and unrefined nature of this project are what makes it is so enticing. If you’re willing to take a 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.

About the Writer
Kasey Flowers, Editor in Chief
Kasey Flowers is a senior, and is very excited to spend his first year on The CHS Arrow staff as editor in chief. He enjoys hanging out with his friends, watching Netflix, going to concerts, playing basketball, and having a good time. He loves listening to rock, rap, and R&B music. Going forward he hopes...
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