Over the next few weeks I’ll be going through about 15 rappers and presenting a case for why they deserve to be among the best feature artists of 2019. At the end I’ll post my personal top 10 as well as a summary on the topic as a whole. On my last blog I talked about why DaBaby deserves the top spot, and today I’ll be delving into Florida Rapper Denzel Curry, and expanding on why I think he was one of the best feature artists of 2019.
An Intro To Denzel Curry
Denzel Curry began rapping way back in 2011, releasing his first mixtape and then joining hip hop collective Raider Klan shortly after. In 2012 he released another couple of mixtapes, which gained a little buzz when they caught the attention of Odd Future. In 2013 Raider Klan broke up and Denzel started pursuing more of a solo career, releasing his debut album ‘Nostalgic 64’, an album stacked with features and his most successful project yet (this is an amazing album btw).
Curry really blew up in 2015-16 though, starting with the release of his double album 32 Zel/Planet Shrooms in June on 2015. This album contained the song ‘Ultimate’, which went viral and has amassed over 100 million streams on Spotify, easily Denzel’s biggest at that point in his career. Building on this momentum, he released his third album ‘Inperial’ in March of 2016, and then was announced as one of the XXL Freshman in June.
From there on Denzel has been riding the wave, releasing a quality project each year, always maintaining that relevance. In 2017 he had the 6 song EP ‘13’, an EP dropped in the lead up to his next album, and then in 2018 dropped the full length album ‘Ta13oo’, which has received a load of critical acclaim and is often viewed as his best album yet. Finally, in 2019 he released his most recent project Zuu’, after leading with a super strong lead single in ‘Ricky’. And that brings us to our topic of discussion. In 2019 Denzel not only had another great full length project, but he had a wide range of solid features on other artists song as well, and seemed to have more of a presence this year than in years passed.
But Was Denzel One Of The Best Of 2019?
Despite Denzel having nowhere near as many features as the first 2 contenders I discussed (A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie & DaBaby), he certainly had enough features throughout the year that he was constantly popping up on my radar. And at the end of the day having less features isn’t really a bad thing in my books. For example he has the least amount of bad features of the 3 so far, and although he hasn’t collaborated with as many artists he still has a great variety in the artists he did work with.
Below are all the songs I’ve taken into consideration, all have Denzel listed as a feature, and all of them with the exception of one (a mid December 2018 release) are from 2019. I’ve left out songs that had Denzel listed as a main artist such as ‘Aloha’ with Charlie Heat, ‘Psycho’ with Slowthai & Aliens with YBN Cordae (I love all 3 though).
The Good! (Good Songs with above average Denzel features)
• Rick Ross – Running The Streets (ft. Denzel Curry & A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie)
• DJ Khalil – Elevate (ft. Denzel Curry, YBN Cordae, SwaVay & Trevor Rich)
• Higher Brothers – One Punch Man (ft. Ski Mask The Slump God & Denzel Curry)
• Guapdad4000 – Izayah (ft. Key!, Maxo Kream & Denzel Curry)
• Smokepurrp – What I Please (ft. Denzel Curry)
• Glass Animals – Tokyo Drifting (ft. Denzel Curry)
• Wiki – Grim (ft. Lil Ugly Mane & Denzel Curry)
• City Morgue – Draino (ft. Denzel Curry)
• ANONYMUZ – No Threat (ft. Denzel Curry)
• Anna Wise – Count My Blessings (ft. Denzel Curry)
• Ducko McFli – 40 Bandz (ft. Denzel Curry & Jace)
• MELODOWNZ – No Mercy (ft. Denzel Curry)
• PlayThatBoiZay – Poison Klan (ft. Denzel Curry & ANONYMUZ)
The Bad! (bad songs, bad Denzel feature, or both)
• Lord LuCN – Super Drunk Freestyle (ft. Denzel Curry) – Song is just boring, Denzel is the standout
• Lord LuCN – drags on too much, decent bars but song doesn’t do anything exciting
• Robert Glasper – This Changes Everything (ft. Buddy & Denzel Curry) – way too much repetition, Buddy especially
• Thouxanbanfauni – Heavy Metal (ft. Denzel Curry) – least fave Denzel feature, cringe bars and basic flows
So just to summarise, that’s a total of 17 features from Denzel in 2019, and of those there were 13 I enjoyed the Denzel feature on, as well as enjoying the rest of the song. So although he was on far less songs than DaBaby (who was on 60), I believe Denzel came through with the most important thing of all, consistency.
Denzel did well to almost always add to the song and had fantastic chemistry with many of the artists he worked with In 2019. Whether rapping on chill beats like on the Anna Wise song ‘Count My Blessings’, or rapping over hard hitting bass heavy beats such as Smokepurpps ‘What I Please’, Denzel rides the instrumental with ease, always with his high energy deliveries and relatable pop culture references.
My personal favourite features of his from 2019 were on ‘Running The Streets’ by Rick Ross, ‘One Punch Man’ by Higher Brothers, ‘Izayah!’ By Guapdad4000, ‘Tokyo Drifting’ by Glass Animals, & finally ‘What I Please’ by Smokepurrp. I think just by the quality of his features alone Denzel has a strong case for best feature artist of 2019, but these are just 5 of his 10+ standout features, so not only is he delivering exciting and enjoyable features, but he was doing it throughout the year.
What was your favourite Denzel Curry feature of 2019?
Thanks for reading!
– Shan –