In Imperial, up and coming rapper Denzel Curry builds upon his previous mixtapes and albums with a 10 track project that highlights his distinctive, aggressive rapping style, intrinsic to both his flow and his lyrics. For the first half of the album, Curry attacks each song with a fast, slightly monotonic flow that assaults the listener. Tracks like “ULT” seem ethereal with watery keyboard melodies surrounding the raps. Following “ULT” is “Gook”, which contains a similar dreamlike atmosphere, but Curry’s hard and fast raps break up the sonorous beat. The result is an enthralling juxtaposition between two separate styles that makes each track stand out on its own.
For much of the beginning of the album, Curry seems to be lashing out at everyone he can, or at least emphasizing his lack of care for what every other rapper is doing while simultaneously promoting his own abilities as a rapper. This mentality is especially present on the track “Gook,” with lines like, “But I bet I can keep it 10 times better than you” and “Why you looking confused?/Made a hard album so what can you do?” Curry’s songwriting ability is better showcased, or perhaps more refined, in tracks found later on in the album. Songs like “Story: No Title” and “This Life” characterize Curry’s struggle growing up in poor Florida. What is perhaps most impressive about Imperial are the quality, exciting, and uplifting hooks that pervade nearly every song, combined with the morbid subject matter inherent in each pugnacious verse. Imperial is absolutely worth a listen for Curry’s unique flow and melodic hooks, creating a little-heard sound in today’s music industry.
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