My Take on TA13OO by Denzel Curry


Claire Hargis, Arts & Entertainment Editor

TA13OO by Denzel Curry is the latest of his three albums, and it’s safe to say that Curry takes on some pretty dark topics within this release. The album is separated into three parts: the light, the grey, and the dark. Despite Act 1 being the light section, it strays pretty far from brightness, as it takes on the topic of materialism. In an interview, Curry revealed that the light part was how he treated everything in life after he began to earn money, and how for a short time things seemed to be going well in his life. It is like the calm before the storm, and I would describe this section as having an obvious essence of false happiness mixed with paranoia. The songs on Act 1 include: “TABOO | TA13OO, BLACK BALLOONS | 13LACK 13ALLOONS, CASH MANIAC | CAZH MAN1AC, and SUMO | ZUMO.” The opener “TABOO | TA13OO” has an R&B feel, with Curry singing soulfully over a calm, dream like guitar driven beat. Then it continues into “BLACK BALLOONS | 13LACK 13ALLOONS,” which has a quick tempoed beat, juxtaposing the lyrics and the song before it. This song references depression with lines like “black balloons over my head,” and “soon the balloons pop, that’ll be the day the pain stops.” The song finishes with distorted voices saying “Tonight on 102.1, it’s Denny Cascade and the gang in town. / Denzel, are you really making an album? / I’m telling you, eventually, they’re gonna catch up to your game, you’re running out of time! / What exactly are you trying to hide, Mr. Curry?” I think the use of the voices at the end of the song does not only add to the theme of something always lingering above you, but also adds a unique aspect to his creation. The final two songs are “ CASH MANIAC | CAZH MAN1AC,” and “SUMO | ZUMO,” and both center around materialism. “CASH MANIAC | CAZH MAN1AC” is essentially about the come up of an artist. Curry raps about everything an up and coming rapper experiences from the fans, to the haters, and all the way to an increase in income. The next track, “SUMO | ZUMO,” takes on a very SoundCloud rapperesc beat which stands individual to the other instrumentals on this disc. With the distorted bass and rap metal feel, Curry raps about how his “pockets are too big they sumo,” playing further into the theme of materialism.

Act 2 is the grey part and it includes five tracks, one more than both the light and the dark parts. Curry said his reasoning for this was because the grey section represents the truth. Curry explained in an interview with Hot New Hip Hop “you hear ‘SUPER SAIYAN SUPERMAN | ZUPER ZA1YAN ZUPERMAN ’ and I’m flexing, I’m flexing hard, after coming from ‘SUMO | ZUMO,’ I’m flexing and sh*t, and then you got ‘SWITCH IT UP| ZW1TCH 1T UP’ which, in an instant, just switches up the whole mood of everything, and shows you how your true friends will literally pull a gun out on a you.” He continues with the theme of not knowing your true friends in “CLOUT COBAIN | CLOUT CO13AIN” singingI can’t even trust my friends, most of them might be foes.” Curry also raps about how he just wants to “feel himself” and others want him to kill himself. Bringing up the disheartening theme of having everyone against you. The second act is definitely darker than the first, however it only becomes dimmer as the album transitions into the final act.

The final disc of TA13OO, is named the dark part and Curry actually said that this is the section he wrote first. Curry described that this part is about being and living for yourself and not anyone else. It begins with a song called “THE BLACKEST BALLOON | THE 13LACKEZT 13ALLOON” in which he raps “feeling like a horror movie, why my brother calling to me.” These lines are in reference to his brother who was tased to death by the police. Curry raps about all the things that are messed up yet true about the real world, including how new up and coming artists do drugs for clout. He continues to emphasize this statement in the song “PERCS | PERCZ,” rapping about how he doesn’t care for drugs and how all of the artist who brag about their addiction are fake. Act 3 finishes with “VENGEANCE | VENGEANCE”  and “BLACK METAL TERRORIST | 13 M T,” both songs are angry and center around wanting revenge. However, I think that these songs go very well with the main theme of the album: things which are considered taboos. Whether you consider talking about depression to be taboo, the topic of drugs, or in this case revenge, Curry wants to make it clear that he is aware that his opinions may be considered taboo, or against social customs.

Overall, I not only enjoyed the message of the album explained above, but also the sound. I liked the mix of dreamy beats with metal rap beats, and the juxtaposition of upbeat instrumentals to dark, twisted themes. I think Denzel Curry’s honesty as an artist is the main thing which makes this album the most appealing because, as he explains in two of his songs, a lot of rappers nowadays are not honest with themselves or their fans. I highly recommend this album to anyone because I think it has something that everyone either can relate to or needs to hear.