So less than a year ago, Denzel Curry released TA13OO (or TABOO) which garnered acclaim from music critics and rap fans as one of the best rap albums (and albums in general) of 2018, myself included. Now after doing a loosie track with Charlie Heat, doing an awesome cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls on Parade,” and appearing on the latest Flying Lotus album (which is also fire!), he has another new album out now.
First, Anderson .Paak and YG released albums mere months after their last one, and now Denzel Curry is on the list. Although to be fair, the time between this and TABOO was 10 months, and Paak and YG had 5 to 9 months, respectively.
Let’s cut to the chase with ZUU. It’s 12 tracks (or 9 songs, 1 interlude and 2 skits) full of banging joints all in under 30 minutes, and it’s always a good sign when an album like this isn’t too long or overbearing. This is another good album from Denzel.
As usual, he’s got bars within the tracks about his family, what goes on in his home of South Florida, making it in the world and the rap game, and trying to not die in his 20s like past friends of his, though mainly the one friend he’s talking about (XXXTentacion), made obvious on the single he dropped, “SPEEDBOAT.”
Big talk, speedboat (Speedboat)
Pray to God I don’t get repoed (Repoed)
Didn’t go to college for a free throw (Swish)
People gettin’ killed through the peephole (Blah)
Have your money up before you go to war (Hmm)
Put the mask on like a luchador (Hmm)
My dawg didn’t make it to 21, so I gotta make it past 24
“RICKY” pays tribute to his parents, mainly his dad, as he recalls his younger days and those that influenced him, including his late brother Treon Johnson, along with coming up in the rap game as he mentions he was blowing up before Nostalgia 64, his debut studio album.
My daddy said, “Trust no man but your brothers
And never leave your day ones in the gutter”
My daddy said, “Treat young girls like your mother”
My mama said, “Trust no ho, use a rubber”
The opening title track brings in more mentions of Dragon Ball in his bars, additionally referencing the Trick Daddy song “I’m a thug” and the acronym 2Pac gave for “Thug Life”: “The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody.”
M’s all on my belt, I’m feelin’ like I’m Majin Buu
Pocket full of ivy and you know the faces blue
Shoe game sick as fuck, it’s like I’m walkin’ on the flu
Carol City, nigga, boy, I’m comin’ out the
Zuu, Zuu, Zuu
The features do manage to hold their own on the songs they’re featured in, and some of them are Floridians themselves. “WISH” has this melodic Miami night-time driving vibe, and Kiddo Marv delivered a nice verse about how the only time he’ll go to church is for a funeral and how rappers are quick to spend a check. Rick Ross collaborates with Curry (again) on “BIRDZ,” and everything about the track does go hard, and while I’m very neutral on Ross as a rapper, his verse was one of the better ones he’s done in a while, along with saying ‘Long Live Nipsey Hussle’ in the end. “SHAKE 88,” featuring Sam Sneak, is another example of ‘bump it at the strip club’ music because it is guaranteed to have people twerking, and “P.A.T.” has that signature aggressive Denzel Curry sound as an ode to his Raider Klan days with PlayThatBoiZay accompanying him on the verse.
ZUU continues to showcase how versatile and skilled a rapper Denzel Curry is, and while it may not be as deep and introspective as TABOO, it still has enough content about his life around Carol City and delivers enough good bangers that it doesn’toverstay its welcome.
FINAL VERDICT: Buy it. Curry continues to shine again and again.
ZUU is available through Loma Vista Recordings on CD, vinyl, digital download and streaming services.