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PAUSE MEETS: Denzel Curry

PAUSE MEETS:

Denzel Curry

Talks career, mindset and future

Photographer: Jack Bridgland // @jackbridgland
Styling: Rhys Marcus Jay //@rhymarcusjay
Interview:
Johnson Gold // @Johnson_Gold
Assistant Stylist: Suril // @suril__

Rising from the South…

A cultural melting pot of the south, Florida’s various influences have clearly had an impact on the artistic direction of Denzel Curry. Sitting down with PAUSE while in London recently, we had a chance to quiz the American artist on his journey into music, why visuals are so important and what’s next.

Waistcoat: acia Studio, Trousers: Tourne de Transmission

What do you think of London, is it your first time here?

No, everybody asks me “What you think of London?” I’ve been here like 7 times.

For those that haven’t heard of you in the UK & London, tell me who is Denzel Curry and where did he grow up from?

Denzel Curry is the entity that grew up on the dirt of Carol City motherf*cking Florida.

What do you mean ‘on the dirt of Florida?’

I came from the bottom, literally, the bottom, of the United States of everything, because Miami is literally the bottom. South of Florida, south, it’s so south it’s the Caribbean. And country at the same time.

Jacket 424 @ Selfridges, Top: Urban Outfitters, Trousers: Ann Demeulemeester, Trainers: Nike

So you consider yourself a from ‘the south’?

I’m Southern & Caribbean. My people’s from the Bahamas.

So growing up in Florida, how did that impact your music today?

Growing up in Florida man it just caused me to talk about all the stuff that was going down there from people dying you know? Especially my environment, Carol City aka black land of black lands you know, yeah, that’s what we called it.

Why do they call it the black lands?

Well, it’s the term from the group I was in – what we call Carol City and it was the black lands, the city where they try to make it hard for a black man you feel me?

How did you come out from that mentally and manage to do something great for yourself?

I’ve been through a lot of shit. You got to think about it, every superhero spawned from somewhere or some hurt or loss. What it is them, what it is to family, what is to friends, or something or just being alone, and I felt like I’m just that hurt person that just knew how to control my own… my ills into ill ass raps, you know what I’m saying, just beautiful music, you can take the ugliest situation and make something beautiful out of it. That’s how I feel.

Who was your inspiration growing up?

My inspiration growing up stemmed from a lot of things. Originally it was like Three 6 Mafia, a lot of New York rap. I would say Outkast, Dungeon Family.

It’s so crazy a lot of people say Outkast, from the US, and I really want to find out why?

Outkast was super relatable and it was fun music but they had a message that they slipped in there, regardless of how they said it, and all their albums back to back was great. All of them. There’s not one single, name me one bad Outkast album. You can’t, you can’t name a bad Outkast album.

Who inspires you today in today’s generation?

That’s hard. I would say whatever catches my ears is probably going to inspire me but at the same time, I’m not really inspired by anyone. One thing I would say I’m inspired by is the fact when somebody like Kendrick or someone makes great albums back to back, that’s what I’m inspired by, just hearing great albums back to back from that one person because it makes me want to do the same thing.

How did your interest in music spark?

It sparked at a young age, it sparked I think 6th grade, poetry.

So you did some poetry?

Yeah, I did poetry before I did rap but what sparked it was like my cousins and my brothers, they’re the ones who really sparked my interest in getting into rap. You see, my cousin was a dope boy.

Your cousin was a what?

A dope boy.

A dope boy? Selling dope?

Yeah selling dope. That’s what sparked my interest, he came to the crib in a Lambo and he gonna talk about rapping and stuff and he’s just rapping, it’s just crazy, and seeing someone from Carol City where I grew up, I was just like damn.

You’re about to release an album right?

Yes.

Your visuals on Instagram are quite heavy. You seem like a visual guy right?

I am a visual guy, I went to an art school. My first passion was art, it was art at first it wasn’t music.

That’s like Kanye West, his first passion was art as well.

Yeah, it was art, same with Kid Cudi, that was my interest. I went to art school, I got kicked out in 10th grade then in my last few years I went to my home school which was gritty as f*ck. It was like a different type of survival there.

Jacket: MISBHV, Jumper: Off White @ Browns Fashion

Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters, Top: A-COLD-WALL* @ Selfridges, Bag: Maison Margiela @ Selfridges, Trousers: Tourne de Transmission, Trainers: Nike Air Max

How did you get through that?

You had to get that edge. Gotta get that edge, you gotta stay out the bullsh*t, that’s how you get through it, you need to be smart but don’t be too smart.

Were you still able to be artistic at that school as well?

Of course. That didn’t stop me, that only fuelled me to be more creative than all my peers at my old school.

How important are visuals today?

It’s very important. Everybody’s attention span man, they have to pay attention to the visuals. They going to pay attention to the music and they’ll be fine, but if they get a really nice visual, crazy one’s like This Is America or something like that or Humble, or stuff like that, they’re going to remember it.

What inspires your visuals?

Just like the most bizarre stuff. A lot of bizarre stuff, really creative stuff, just stuff that I see. Something in my visions, something on TV, something they do in the movies, and how to make movies.

I’ve seen some Dragonball Z influences in your visuals as well.

Well Dragonball Z that was a lifestyle thing, having the body right, having the energy, because I have a lot of energy and they have a lot of energy in Dragonball Z. That was one of the main things I used to watch in my household.

Would you say you’re Dragonball Z?

Would I say I’m Dragonball Z? I wouldn’t say I am Dragonball Z, I would say I’m influenced by it.

Which artist right now is killing it in terms of fashion?

I ain’t going to lie, I’m going to give it to people like A$AP Rocky, Migos, Gucci Mane, people like that. Those are the main people who care about fashion, Tyler the Creator, one of the best people I’ve seen dress.

Funny guy.

Really funny dude, but his fashion sense, it’s him. He creates it and it’s basically a culture! Those guys like A$AP, Tyler. I would say Playboy Carti, Migos, Gucci.

If you had to pick one sneaker brand which would it be?

Vans. I got a Nike sponsor and everything but, I love Nike too, Nike’s dope too so shout-out to Nike. I like Vans because you can customise them if you want, they could be dirty as hell, they could be messed up as hell and they would still be in style.

It’s a huge culture in Miami and LA, Vans is like the #1.

Yeah it is!

Tell me about your dreadlocks, how do you take care of them?

I wash them, it’s still hair bro, I just wash them and keep them maintained and stuff. I cut them recently, I cut my hair recently, my hair was actually longer, but I dyed it like two years ago and it did a lot of damage to my hair.

Is this your regular style?

This is my regular style.

Have you noticed there’s a language barrier between the US and UK?

Oh yes.

What are some of the words you’ve noticed that we say differently?

Puma, Nikey, Nike. We say Nikey y’all say Nike.

You don’t say Nike?

No. We say Nikey, you didn’t hear me when I said Nikey when I was talking about shoes?

Yeah, I just noticed that.

Puma, we say Pooma. Adeedas, you say Adidas. Link up bruv. We say bruh, bro.

Oh, you say bruh, but we say bruv?

You say bruv, y’all sound like you have a V at the end. We say bruh with a H at the end like bruh.

And those are the main words that you noticed so far?

Like mad, you guys go “mad”, and we’re like “man that’s crazy.”

Your grills, when did you start wearing grills?

I mean they’re pull outs, you pull them out that’s how I rock the grills, here’s the thing with South Florida, everybody and their momma’s Got grills. Literally, my momma has grills. Yeah, my mum has grilled teeth, she has gold, my grandma had grills, my brothers had, and my friend and my mom on my dads side had a gold tooth too, so that’s the thing, everyone’s got em’.

What’s one thing you enjoy doing most when you’re on stage?

Going ham. Just going ham on stage like putting together like a story, it’s the best thing. Just performing in general though!

What does it feel like when you’ve finished the set? Give me one word to describe how you feel.

Relief.

Why relief?

Because I go in there, just really nervous and intense and when I get into it I get grooving, like I go super hard.

And what can we expect from you this year?

There’s me not stopping, there’s going to be an album coming out called Taboo, it’s going to be the best album to come out this year, no cap, you feel me? It’s going to be the best album to come out, ya’ll should expect really creative and bizarre music videos from me, and really dope singles. I’m just going to shot the game and f*ck the brain. It’s what it’s going to be and that’s what it is, that’s the honest truth.

Looking forward to it man, thank you! Nice to meet you.

You’re welcome.

Keep up with Denzel on Instagram