Denzel Curry and the Power of Staying Indie:
“Congratulations, I Didn’t Play Myself”
And looking forward, you have your eyes set on a debut from Loma Vista?
Denzel: Mhm, Taboo.
Is there a timetable for that?
Denzel: I’m just working on it now because I won’t have time for it later. Every other project I did, like Nostalgic 64 didn’t have a set date. When we did 32 Zel/Planet Shrooms, due to depression, we had set dates but it kept getting pushed back and then when it finally came out, it didn’t really reach what I wanted to get because some of the songs was old and people didn’t really accept the new experimental sounds that I was doing. Then, working on Imperial, I was working on that way before it was scheduled to drop so I had time to get a whole bunch of skeletons. That’s why I’m working on Taboo now so it’ll give me more time to plan later.
Rees: We’re taking the first half of the year off of touring so he can work and make music. It’ll be 2017.
Denzel: We startin’ early because once you’re on time, you’re late. If you early, you’re on time.
Do you already have your theme or anything? What type of concept are you going for?
Denzel: The ugliest situations possible because what do you think of first when you think of the word “taboo”?
Things that are forbidden, not socially acceptable.
Denzel: Exactly. And you see what everybody rapping about these days—every time you turn on the radio it’s the same thing. But back in the day, that was taboo to certain people. In the ‘90s, it was like, “This is crazy, forbidden, why you rapping about this? Gangsta rap?” Now it’s acceptable. And I just feel like the stuff that people don’t talk about that happens every day, out of the norm stuff that happens, people don’t talk about because truth is stranger than fiction should be talked about. That’s why I want to do Taboo. But I want to do it in a way where the ugliest situations sound so beautiful, you know?
Can you give me an example?
Denzel: You know, molestation, teen insecurities, stuff like death, what love really is, people don’t talk about that anymore. Everything’s like “I’ma fuck a bitch/I’ma get lit/I’ma pop a molly like a pop a fuckin’ zit.” That bullshit [laughs]. But you know those things used to be forbidden.
You’re trying to push the envelope further?
Denzel: Right because people do not, I repeat, do not talk about. You don’t hear songs like that, or if you do, they sound so serious you don’t hear it in a club or somewhere… But the whole album is based around ugly situations and what I’m going to experiment with this is if you listen to Quiet Storm, Sade, Anita Baker, poetry… a little more R&B. It’s still going to be dark. I’m still going to rap on this shit, it’s just that I want to structure it to where I don’t want to just make songs. I don’t want to just make a watered down Imperial, I want to make something far greater than Imperial.
Will you work with any R&B artists that you haven’t worked with before?
Denzel: I am the R&B artist.
Who else would you work with as an R&B artist?
Denzel: When it comes down to it…shit, I want to work with CeeLo, The Weeknd, SZA, Twelve’Len, that’s family. I mean, I feel like, I ain’t gonna lie I have dude fans, most of my fans are dudes. I only get a minimum of girls.
So like “This Life” off Imperial?
Denzel: “This Life” definitely! That’s my favorite song off Imperial, period. Like, yeah I like “Zone 3,” “I like “Ultimate” but “This Life” is my favorite because I didn’t have to rap fast, I had a different subject to talk about and I actually felt it. I actually felt pain and that was me projecting pain in a way that was beautiful.
Is signing everything you’d hoped it would be?
Rees: It’s funny, it doesn’t really feel any different. People throw parties and pop champagne. I think we were up in Vermont and the label sent us a few bottles of champagne and those things lasted for like three weeks [laughs]. I think Boogie was on tour with us, he drank most of it. It’s just not how we are. It’s not a celebration yet.
Denzel: The celebration is winning a Grammy, five Grammys. That’s when we’ll celebrate. Those are ultimate goals.
Rees: Yeah, those are ultimate goals. Signing a deal, that’s just the next step.
Denzel: Yeah, it’s just the beginning really. We don’t celebrate yet. Congratulations, I didn’t play myself.