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‘You Have To Keep People Guessing’: Denzel Curry on Martial Arts and Musical Growth

Over the last decade, fans have witnessed Florida rapper Denzel Curry grow up, from his early days as a member of SpaceGhostPurrp’s loud and boisterous Raider Klan to his most recent solo LP, Melt My Eyez See Your Future. The new album incorporates dizzying jazz elements, with features from features from Robert Glasper, Karriem Riggins, Saul Williams, and Thundercat — making it a striking departure from albums like 2018’s Ta13oo and 2019’s Zuu.

“The greatest lesson I learned recently was: ‘It doesn’t matter what I make, as long as it’s good,’” Curry says on the latest episode of The Green Room. “That’s what a true artist does. In order to push those boundaries, we don’t have to conform to what normal society wants us to conform to. Everybody wants to put me into this ‘yelling’ box… That’s not the case. I’m just an artist. That’s just a form of expression I put out. And it’s subjective.”

If the rap game is a competition, Curry assumes a fighter mentality. He discussed how he’s integrated his longstanding love of martial arts into his approach to music: “You don’t worry about what these other people are throwing, you only focus on what you’re throwing. When it comes down to versatility, martial artists have to pull from everywhere to make themselves a complete fighter, and that’s what you have to do with music to keep people guessing and keep people going.”

Another surprising guest on Melt My Eyez is T-Pain, whose journey through the industry — carving a lane for himself and innovating even when many couldn’t see his vision — is one that Curry admires. “People had to shun T-Pain so Lil Uzi could exist,” Curry says.

For more, watch Denzel Curry’s full interview on The Green Room above.

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