The biggest trend in the music industry right now is trap rap and mumble rap.
You can hear it all over, around college campuses, and Erie is no different.
Any time I am walking to class or practice, seven out of 10 times there is some form of trap music playing.
So why has this genre of music come into the mainstream now and not when it was invented with the big wind of Southern hip-hop that became popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s?
Well, Denzel Curry is one of the envelope pushers who sent this sound into the mainstream. Since his induction into the scene in 2011 with his “King Remembered Underground Tape 1991–1995” mixtape, he wanted to have something darker, more cynical and dirtier.
Rap music at the time was still on this lighter and “pop-pier” sound with songs like “The Show Goes On,” “6 Foot 7 Foot,” “Black and Yellow” and “Can’t Get Enough.”
He was influenced by Outkast, Ghetto Mafia and Kanye West, and was able to get a grimier sound that would later be called “emo rap.”
In 2011, he took this dirtier idea and started to create a horrorcore-style rap sound, with trap rap and cloud rap influences on his first two full-length records, “Nostalgic 64 and 32 Zel/Planet Shrooms and Imperial.”
In 2018, we now have “TA13OO” (pronounced Taboo), and Curry continues to push the envelope by incorporating more experimental hip-hop, hardcore hip-hop and pop rap into his music.
The record is split into three subsets: Light: tracks one through four, Gray: tracks five through nine and Dark: tracks 10 through 13, each incorporating a different feeling from Curry.
“Light” is Curry trying to strive toward some sort of happiness. Each of the tracks has a bouncy, fun and dreamy feel, with messages about several types of illnesses, depression, suicide and obsessions.
“Gray” is Curry explaining how life is filled with gray areas. There are always going to be times when we can’t get over events that are happening to us.
He continues to talk about different taboos that happen in the human psyche.
“Dark” is Curry explaining and going into the darker side of human nature that either he or the people around him have gone through, while touching upon the darkness that America is experiencing now.
In general, these three ideas are a great attempt to explain what Curry is thinking.
He is trying to portray his own emotions as well as what he thinks about different ideas and events that have been happening to him and the world around him; there will always be light, gray and darkness in the world.
However, his execution is not the greatest. First the track listing is a bit cluttered.
The ending of “Light” doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the album since the lyrics are more of a bragging song than anything.
The middle of “Gray” seems too upbeat in the instrumental portion than the rest of the album.
Individually almost all the songs come together to produce an intense, dirty and emotional listen. There are some truly perfect written songs on this record.
But it is hard to see exactly what Curry is trying to portray overall.
Hopefully, on the next album, he comes together to produce a perfect record because he has the perfect delivery, perfect production and amazing way of crafting tracks.
But, until then, this will have to be an almost amazing track.
Happy Listening, Gannon University!