Interview: Denzel Curry talks about the rap game and Being 18 Years Old

Rap has always been a young man’s game. With the Internet leveling the playing field in recent years, that sentiment has never been more true. The Masked Gorilla is the definitive youth voice in hip-hop, covering emerging rappers and producing exclusive interviews since 2009. With that being said, we fittingly teamed up with Green Label for a bi-monthly interview series focusing on young rappers who are on the brink of grabbing mainstream attention.

To start off the series, we spoke with Miami born-and-bred rapper Denzel Curry. At only 18 years old, the “Threatz” rapper has grabbed the attention of SpaceGhostPurrp, been featured on MTV’s RapFix, and performed at Coachella, all while finishing up his senior year of high school. We spoke with Curry about achieving success at such a young age, his relationship with SpaceGhostPurrp, his forthcoming mixtape, and more.

You’re only 18 years old, has it been difficult juggling school and music?

It wasn’t really difficult juggling the two to be honest, the hard part was getting my parents’ approval for me traveling to do shows out of town, but they are good now. I had to turn down a show in Finland though, but it is what it is.

How have teachers and students at your school reacted to your music and popularity?

They were really supportive, but at the same time they still wanted me to get my education. That went for my household, too. My parents were big on me finishing. I graduated from Carol City High last month.

Live on RapFix, Waka Flocka Flame offered to get on the “Threatz” remix, have you spoken to Waka since?

No, I haven’t spoken to Waka, but you know how that goes when you’re famous, you’re always on the move, so I understand if there was no time. I’m not counting it out though, leaving it up to the universe.

SpaceGhostPurrp was one of your original supporters, how exactly did you meet him?

I met Purrp through a friend of mine named Mike Dece, who was also formerly in Raider Klan. When I found out he was from Carol City, I reached out to him and asked if I could be in Raider Klan, his exact words were “Fasho,” and that’s how my journey began.

Recently there was of course a very public falling out, can you shed some light on exactly what led to that?

I can’t comment on that, but what I can say is that there is no animosity on our side. It was just something that should of never escalated to what it is today... everything is good now though for the most part. I’m cool with everyone.

You commendably took the departure in stride, as a whole how will you look back on your time spent in Raider Klan?

I really appreciate what Purrp has done for me. I don’t regret anything. I look back at those moments like, “Man, this helped me a lot down the road,” and it overall helped shape who I am today as an artist. He helped open a door for all of us. It’s deeper than music, those are all still my friends and family.

You recently linked up with Sir Michael Rocks on “Shepherd,” how exactly did that collaboration come about?

Him and my manager [Mark Maturah] met at SXSW and Mark gave him a promo CD for the album. We weren’t aware that Mikey was a fan of our music and a fan of Raider Klan (before my departure). Mikey and I would speak back and forth on Twitter. He came down to Miami for a show, and we got a chance to kick it in the studio while he was here with my producers Nuri & Poshstronaut (Of Metro Zu). From there, “Shepherd” was created with him and Nell.

You’ve been teasing the release of Nostalgic 64 for the better part of 2013, who have you been working with on the project?

So far Lil Ugly Mane, my brother Soulja Mook, Yung Simmie & Robb Bank$, SpaceGhostPurrp, Mike G (OFWGKTA), Metro Zu , Ronny J, Personal, JK the Rapper, Nell, and Nuri right now. Mostly just the homies who have been helping me out musically since day one. Some new faces you can expect to see are Steven A. Clark, dope singer/producer based down here in Miami. Rem, also a very dope producer. Trapmoney Benny out of Atlanta on the production tip as well, and also a rare feature from Yung Lean out of Sweden. Almost done with the album, but I’m still working.

When can we expect that to be released?

September 3rd.

What’s the plan after the release?

Hopefully hitting the road to do more shows and promote the album, and start on the next project, but who knows, anything can happen. I'm just going to keep working harder.