Denzel Curry UnleashesThe Beast Called ZUU At The Underground
Miami Rapper Lives Up To His Ultimate Nickname
For the second time in less than a year, Miami rapper Denzel Curry made a stop in Charlotte, performing to a capacity crowd at the Underground. Curry is spending a good part of the summer touring with on one of the hottest artists on the planet right now, Billie Eilish, but is doing some headline runs in between to support his latest effort and fourth studio album ZUU.
Like many rappers, Denzel got his start early on releasing his first mixtape in 2011, King Remembered Underground Tape 1991-1996, garnering the attention of underground Florida rapper Space Ghost Pump and earning Curry a spot in Pump’s hip-hop group Raider Klan. More mixtapes would follow putting Denzel in the spotlight and on the radar of fellow Florida rapper Earl Sweatshirt.
Inspired by the musical stylings of Tupac Shakur, Curry’s third mixtape was released after the death of Trayvon Martin who attended the same high school as Curry in Carol City, Florida. After Raider Klan disbanded, Curry was able to concentrate fully on his solo career and released his first full-length album Nostalgic 64 while still in school. The record featured performances by a number of guest artists including JK the Reaper, Lil Ugly Mane, and Mike G to name a few.
His career would take off to new heights with the breakout single “Ultimate” off his double EP release 32 Zel/Planet Shrooms. 2018 would seethe Ta13oo album whose first three singles, “Sumo,” “Clout Cobain,” and “Percs” were released to represent three different segments of the record representing Light, Gray, and Dark. The album was met with both commercial and critical acclaim making Curry a true force to be reckoned with in the rap world. Just a few weeks ago, on May 31st, the ZUU record was released via Loma Vista Recordings, an album that could ultimately help redefine the Florida rap sound.
Saturday night Charlotte area fans were lucky enough to experience ZUU live and it was a hell of a show. Kicking off the night’s festivities was another Florida artist, this time in the form of Twelve’Len. The venue was already packed when Twelve’Len took the stage and from that point on it was game on for the rest of the night. Not only is he touring with Curry, but Twelve’Len is also out on the Billie Eilish tour as well.
His style is much more of a rhythm and blues singer with a hip-hop or rap blend and his soulful voice carried well in the more intimate setting of the Underground. His set was short but was a great way to introduce himself to those who were unfamiliar with his work. With songs like “Thank the Gang” and “Let’s Stay,” I’m sure we will be hearing a lot more from Twelve’Len in the not so distant future.
After a very short break, it was time for the main event. I have seen Denzel a few times and have attended my fair share of rap and hip-hop shows, and it is here that I want to give kudos to Curry’s team because every show of his seems to go off without a hitch and has a very nice flow to it, limiting audience wait time. The fans were ready and the chants of “Ult-i-mate” began in earnest. Once Curry stepped out on to the dark stage, it was a nonstop whirlwind of action. From the opening notes of the ZUU to the end of the show, Curry was all over that stage, jumping, running, spinning, and interacting with the fans.
Pumping his fist, jumping up and down, Denzel got the crowd hyped and eager for more. The stage set up was simple, just Curry and a lone DJ set up at the rear corner of the stage, but that was all he needed.
There’s no need for an elaborate light show as Curry’s energy is enough to light things up and carry the show. The songs off the new album are perfect in a live setting and blend seamlessly into the setlist.
Whether it’s his latest single “Speedboat” or an older tune like “Parents,” Curry’s songs are unmistakable with catchy beats that make you want to be up on your feet and choruses that the audience can sing-along to. For me, a rap show is all about having a great time and that’s exactly what Curry delivers.
You can expect the ultimate party each and every time the Ultimate Denzel Curry hits the stage. This is one artist you don’t want to miss seeing because live is where Curry really shines. After hitting Europe for a string of shows, Curry will be back in the Stages in early July. You can check out all the tour information here. After all, summer’s the perfect time for a trip to the ZUU!