By Cole Conklin
Originating in the underground music scene in Florida, the 27-year-old rapper and artist Denzel Curry has since become widely renowned and praised for his distinctive music style. His socially conscious yet aggressive lyrics have gained respect from millions. Inspired by artists such as XXXTentacion, Tupac Shakur, Rage Against the Machine, Kendrick Lamar, and countless others, Curry has developed his own unique and exciting style, incorporating multiple different genres in his music. Since dropping seven albums from the beginning of his career, some of his most famous songs include ULT, BLACK BALLOONS, Ricky, Zenith, SIRENS, and more. He has won numerous hip-hop awards and was given a spot on the 2016 XXL Freshman rappers list.
All his albums are ranked below from worst to best with a brief explanation for each.
#7) 32 Zel (2015)
- Though this album is great when compared to other artists, it nonetheless ranks last in Curry’s discography. The album still has hits such as “Envy Me,” “32 Ave Intro,” and the classic water bottle flipping tune “Ultimate,” but it’s not difficult to tell that a lot of the album is just Curry experimenting and trying to find his flow, often with a lot of unappealing beats and odd lyrics.
#6) Melt My Eyes See Your Future (2022)
- Though still an impressive experimental and radical album, I would beg to say that Curry’s most recent album ranks second lowest out of his discography. Due to the disappointing features, odd lo-fi transitions, and a lack of breath-taking hits, it certainly fell short of what it was anticipated to be. Of course, there are still many great songs including “The Last,” “Worst Comes to Worst,” “Walkin,” and “Zatoichi,” but these pale in comparison to his other works
#5 13 (2017)
- Spotify technically has this group of songs listed as a single, since it’s only 13 minutes and 16 seconds long. Yet, regardless of its length, this album still slaps. Released in 2017, Curry was still riding the wave of his widely acclaimed 2016 album – Imperial. Many of the songs on this song have a revolutionary theme to them, similar to his 2016 album. The album additionally has a very aggressive element in it and draws from Florida drill, metal, and gangsta rap. Some of the best songs on this album include “Hate Government,” “Zeltron 6 Billion,” and “Bloodshed.”
#4 UNLOCKED (2020)
- In a new attempt at reinventing himself, Curry worked with acclaimed musician and producer, Kenny Beats, to release this 2020 project. While still having a hotheaded and enraged element to his album, much of it now focuses on musicality. Music critic Anthony Fantano gave this album a solid “8.5/10” on his youtube channel which usually gives scathing critics. The album cover was also additionally very colorful and is now easily recognizable to many.
#3 ZUU (2019)
- Coming in at number three is the ultimate album to listen to at the gym. Out of all Curry’s music, this is one of the most aggressive and hyped sets of songs he has put out. Working out while listening to this album at full volume will make you feel invincible. In addition, the album cover itself is the most hardcore and defiant image I’ve seen. With the “Denzel Curry Zuu” label being a mirror image of the “Parental Advisory: Explicit Content”, Curry seems to be owing up to the fact that his lyrics are highly inappropriate, which is really cool. Great songs on this album include “AUTOMATIC,” “ZUU,” and “RICKY.” All songs on this album are capitalized, perhaps to indicate the aggressiveness and metal-like nature of this work.
#2) TA13OO (2018)
- Similar to ZUU, all of the songs on this album are capitalized, also to convey the hardcore sentiments he wanted to show. But unlike his past works, Curry takes this album down a very personal path by exploring his fight with depression and mental illness. He reflects on the poor choices he made, the people he hurt, and how he could do better. While poetically beautiful and unique, the musical aspects of this album are additionally fantastic. Some of Curry’s greatest hits are featured on this album including “TABOO,” “SUMO l ZUMO,” “THE BLACKEST BALLOON,” and “ SIRENS.” Unlike ZUU, however, this album is great to listen to when you’re feeling down, or just want to think some stuff through. A great masterpiece.
#1) Imperial (2016)
- At number one, Curry’s second-ever album has aged like fine wine. Absolutely filled to the brim with bangers and bursting with revolutionary lyrical genius, listening to this album is a spiritual and transcendent experience. The album cover itself is the craziest and most hardcore piece of work in the industry, and staring at it makes you feel as if you are staring into a nation of people. There isn’t a single miss on this album, and all 39 minutes and 54 seconds is some straight sauce. With songs such as “ULT,” “Sick & Tired,” “This Life,” “Zenith,” and “Knotty Head,” this is Curry at his finest.