New Music

Denzel Curry’s ‘Imperial’ is the Darkest and Most Introspective Hip-Hop Since Mobb Deep

"Keepin' it G is the key."

denzel curry imperial

Denzel Curry’s enormous talents for brooding introspection and storytelling are rare commodities in hip-hop. Consider the song ‘Sick and Tired’ from his new album Imperial (available for free download at his website). Curry rhymes from the perspectives of multiple narrators throughout the duration of the track (a technique utilized by legends like the Notorious B.I.G. and Slick Rick). First, we hear the desperation of a street thug targeting his next victim (“cause a nigga is tired of being broke / And I’m tired of living at my folks”). In the second verse, the perspective changes to the big fish in the pond: a rich thug “flexing flashy wrists” who is “sweating bullets” for fear of getting jacked. The high and low vantage points paint a 360-degree picture of the urban poverty’s cycle of violence.

Imperial‘s poetry of introspection is complemented by moody, eery production reminiscent of classic dark-cloud street tales like those of Mobb Deep. The tone is occasionally brightened by brief flashes of Curry’s nonchalant charm and sense of humor (“two rules in my house: no shoes, no fuck niggas”). Imperial also boasts catchy choruses (like the one on ‘This Life’) and turntable scratching (on ‘Zenith’) that reveals the hop-hop traditionalist in Curry.

Curry hails from Carol City, Florida, a suburban city located in Miami-Dade County. Watch the video for ‘ULT’ (the title is an abbreviation of Curry’s ‘Ultimate’ brand/motto) below.

Listen to the best
podcast in music.

Subscribe to the Culture Creature podcast:
Apple Podcasts | Android | Stitcher | RSS