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Denzel Curry - Nostalgic 64 Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 8.5
Production 8.5
Creativity 8.5
Lasting Value 8.5
Reviewer Tilt 8.5
Final Verdict: 85%
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Denzel Curry - Nostalgic 64

Reviewed by: Jake Jenkins (09/10/13)
Denzel Curry - Nostalgic 64
Record Label: L&E x C9
Release Date: September 3, 2013


Like most people from the Midwest with families that like to take vacations to the beach, I've been to Florida more times than I can count. I've never lived there, so I can only go off of my warped perception of the state when considering what life is like for the people who do live there. It my mind, it seems a bit boring. Denzel Curry, on the other hand, paints a bit of a different picture of his home in Miami, Florida on his debut album Nostalgic 64. The scene that Curry sets on this record is incredibly murky and dark, with a cloud of anxiety and paranoia hanging over his world.

Nostalgic 64 sounds like the marriage of SpaceGhostPurrp's ambient and atmospheric aesthetic with Waka Flocka's hard-nosed aggression. The first track on the record, “Zone 3,” contains rattling 808 kicks and machine-like hi-hats coated in a thick layer of hazy synth pads that sets the eerie mood right off the bat. Meanwhile, the 18-year-old Denzel Curry flexes his rightfully confident flow and style, describing the kind of lifestyle he abides by in his hometown of Carol City, otherwise known as Zone 3. The stage is perfectly set with this song, as the mood rarely deviates from the darkness of this track, though varying styles are presented throughout the album. “Parents,” for instance, has a stuttering, glitchy beat that bounces along underneath heavily manipulated keys that create an unsettling feeling, and even though there's a discomforting feeling being emitted, the bleak hook is one that is sure to get stuck in your head.

The song here that best pulls off the hyper-aggressive, trap-inspired style is “Threatz,” with Denzel spitting alongside fellow South Florida rappers Young Simmie and Robb Bank$, and the three come together to create one of the hardest rap anthems of the year. Although there's no shortage of memorable lines when Curry is spitting tough bars like that, he really shines when he shows off his storytelling abilities. “Mystical Virus Pt. 3: The Scream” takes the narrative away from Curry himself as he tells the story of a suicidal criminal locked up in prison. Lil Ugly Mane shows up to help contribute to the narrative in typical Ugly Mane fashion, making it even more disappointing that he's planning on leaving the rap game soon. Odd Future member Mike G shows up on the end of the track with a horribly monotonous verse, but the track doesn't suffer from it in the least bit.

“Widescreen” is where the album dips a little bit in quality, but the song itself isn't bad by any stretch of the imagination. It just comes in between two of the best tracks on the album, and the perfect transition from “Widescreen” into the following “N64” is enough to keep it from being a track you would want to skip. On the aforementioned “N64,” Denzel Curry does the album's title justice by referencing things from his childhood like Team Rocket, Clark Kent, 2Pac, Ghostface, and more. The two verses here are split up by a powerful audio clip from a news report of a protest for Trayvon Martin that took place at Curry's high school. On the second verse, Curry uses this energy to look inside himself, asking “God damn, I'm really losing my mind/Or should I end it all by just grabbing the 9?” Denzel Curry's knack for reciprocating the mood of the beat in his lyrics gives the album a seamless sense of consistency, even if his lyrics can be a little bit scatter shot at times.

The album winds down a bit near the end, with the final two tracks “Denny Cascade” and “A Day in the Life of Denzel Curry Pt. 2” harboring some of the more delicate beats on the album. “Denny Cascade” is anchored by a fluttering piano loop, giving Curry a little more room to breathe than he's given on some of the busier songs, and he has a unique enough flow to keep the attention of the listeners without added production flourishes. The closing track is one of the most uplifting on the album, with the atmospheric cloud-rap production leaning more towards the style of Main Attrakionz than that of SpaceGhostPurrp. Still, it feels like a proper finish to an album that rarely lets up from its grim feel.

As far as debut albums go, Nostalgic 64 is a massive success. There's plenty of room to grow here, but the album is incredibly consistent and impressive. Denzel Curry has proven that he doesn't need his Raider Klan ties to flourish on his own, though the SpaceGhostPurrp influence is evident here. No, Denzel Curry wanted to do this on his own, and the result is an album that any rap artist would be proud of. Curry's young age is just icing on the cake, as it suggests there's a lot more where this came from.

8.5/10

Additional InformationTrack List:
1. Intro (Prod. By Rem & Alden Volney)
2. Zone 3 (Prod. By MarkMC9 Ronny J & POSHstronaut)
3. Parents (Prod. By Rem w/ additional Prod. By Bodega Creative Co.)
4. Dark & Violent Feat. JK The Rapper & Nell (Prod. By POSHstronaut & Klvn Tyler)
5. Threatz Feat. Robb Bank$ & Yung Simmie (Prod. By Ronny J)
6. Mystical Virus Pt. 3: The Scream Feat. Lil Ugly Mane & Mike G (Prod. By Ronny J & POSHstronaut)
7. Widescreen (Prod. By Nuri)
8. N64 (Prod. By POSHstronaut & Nuri)
9. Like Me Feat. Steven A. Clark (Prod. By Steven A. Clark w/ Additional Prod. By Rem)
10. Talk That S**t (Prod. By J GREEN)
11. Benz (Prod. By Freebase)
12. Denny Cascade (Prod. By Freebase POSHstronaut & Denzel Curry)
13. A Day In The Life Of Denzel Curry Pt. 2 (Prod. By Lofty305 w/ Additional Prod. By Sydney In Theory)
 
Displaying posts 1 - 6 of 6
09:51 PM on 09/10/13
#2
Slangster
Kill the lights, I've seen too much
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I like this album a p good amount. Good review.
05:30 AM on 09/11/13
#3
troubledbyinsects
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great record, great review. i was surprised by how much i love this release.
06:11 AM on 09/11/13
#4
bowbzzz
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If Spaceghost wasn't a bipolar moron, a lot of people in Raider Klan would be huge.

I agree with the score of this review. My favorite tracks are Dark n Violent and Denny Cascade.
02:24 AM on 11/29/13
#5
The_Effort
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Good review of this. I'm enjoying the album quite a bit, although at a few points I'm a bit disappointed lyrically (his use of fa**** on N64 and such). Had no idea he was so young though. His flow is great and really keeps me entertained.
08:34 AM on 11/29/13
#6
Jake Jenkins
https://twitter.com/jakej654
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Good review of this. I'm enjoying the album quite a bit, although at a few points I'm a bit disappointed lyrically (his use of fa**** on N64 and such). Had no idea he was so young though. His flow is great and really keeps me entertained.
Yeah I agree with you there. I hope he grows out of that kind of language
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