Denzel Curry - 'ZUU' Album Review
Frequently hailed as the saviour of new-wave and Soundcloud rap, Florida’s prodigal son pretty much dominated my headphones last year with the mind-blowing TA13OO, an album that explored the darkest corners of Curry’s mind and sound in what was probably my favourite hip-hop project of the year. Going into 2019, Denzel Curry couldn’t be in a better position, getting all the critical praise he deserves off of TA13OO and getting his sound opened up to a wider audience as a result. On ZUU, Curry capitalises off of this, with a shorter and straight to the point project filled to the brim with bangers.
This move from Curry was predicted last year in the movements of rapper Vince Staples who moved on from his highly conceptual album, Big Fish Theory, into a more straight-forward hip-hop album dedicated to his home and his upbringing. ZUU does exactly this as every song seems crafted as a love letter to Miami and it’s people. From the 808 cowbells to the up-pitched vocals, everything about the sound of ZUU is dripping with Miami influence and for the most part, this works.
Opening with the volatile title track and the stellar lead single ‘Ricky’, Curry opens the album like a bull out of a cage hitting with hard bars and spicy hooks, a stark contrast to the softer opening of his last album. Going into ‘Wish’ and ‘Automatic’, Curry heads in a more straight forward trap direction as the synthwave-inspired beat on ‘Wish’ completely encompasses your headphones alongside a brilliant feature from Kiddo Marv after Curry lead the charge with yet another addictive hook.
Nothing on ZUU is nearly as conceptual as TA13OO as Curry’s lyricism mostly focuses on Miami culture and the trap lifestyle while throwing in a couple emotional touches regarding his life behind closed doors to keep things interesting. The main draw from Curry across ZUU comes from his amazing ability to consistently put out catchy, earworm hooks that stay with you long after track finishes, something he’s demonstrated on tracks like ‘Clout Cobain’ and ‘ULT’ in the past. Not every hook lands however, as towards the end of the album, the tracks ‘Carolmart’ and ’88 Shake’, don’t hit the same mark as the first few, with the latter track ’88 Shake’ feeling a little outdated and cliché.
Outside of these two tracks, ZUU has all the hallmarks of another great Denzel Curry project, with disgustingly good production on tracks like ‘Birdz’ and ‘P.A.T.’ and sticky hooks on ‘Speedboat’ and ‘Ricky’, ZUU shows that Denzel’s nostalgia trip is just as fun to listen to as I’m sure it was to make.
Listen to ZUU below: