Review Summary: Nostalgia showcased through new wave styles; Denzel Curry manifests the ambiguity of 90's reflective rap through the lens of trap beats and creeping atmospherics.
Nostalgia is defined as a sentimental longing for a certain time is one's past that represents happiness. Hip-Hop seemingly revolves around this term; fans of the music always seem overjoyed to argue that today's Hip-Hop scene will never amount to the peak that the 90's brought to the genre. It's a paradox, really, in the music world. There will always be one generation that claims the music which conceived their idea of, "this is what music is supposed to sound like"
will quarrel with another generation that hears something completely different, but inevitably reaches the same conclusion. And the argument will be had until the end of time. Nostalgia 64
integrates the forward thinking of early 90's groups like "A Tribe Called Quest" and "Organized Konfusion" with the trap styling of today's Hip-Hop, piecing together an album that fixates itself a medium between the many different minds of the hip hop world.
First and foremost, this album is never achieved without the necessities that Denzel Curry brings to the table. The technical skill through which Denzel spits is awe-inspiring, oftentimes captivating the listener before we even understand what is actually being said
. On the track "Zone 3" we hear him begin with a spoken word bar "This is dedicated to the memoirs of my niggas, them" before bursting into the next bar with the adrenaline filled, triple-time line, "Most of them victimized because the daily grind Crackers be bamming and sending them" said within the same time length as the previous bar. His arsenal of stop-and-go rhyme schemes and half-bar/full bar lines are showcased in almost every track. He also embodies a pause-per-word style much in vein of A$AP Ferg's style on the track "Threatz" in which he hangs onto the end of every word as though it is being spoken with substance. If there is a fault in Denzel's technical approach, however, it lies within the track "A Day in the Life of Denzel Curry Pt. 2." which is more of a question of "Why?" rather than a statement, for Denzel decides to sing-song his way behind a cloud-rap production that simply doesn't mix. Aside from the albums closer though, attempting to find other faults in the way Denzel approached this album through his delivery is tiresome. Denzel proves with every change in flow that his delivery and sheer technical ability should never be in question.
The actual understanding of the words being said almost never disappoints either. The track "Parents" essentially takes aim at a growing phenomenon in the United States, especially within the lower-class black community, which is bad parenting. It takes two characters, one who believes that prostitution of her body is the only way to provide for her family and the other who simply doesn't have any idea what they are supposed to do with their life, just spending money on needless items. All of it ends up pointing the finger at the horrid parenting that is currently going on. Also, in the track "Dark & Violent" Denzel tells the story in two parts, the first being a third-person view that describes the main character, and then, after a beat change up in the song, goes into this first person view of the same character as he pulls off a bank heist with his friends. It's done exceedingly well and really puts the listener in awe. When the album decides to be less serious, its still isn't a downfall. "Widescreen" and "Talk That Shi
t" while being dumb in lyrical content, still end up being these fun, and adrenaline filled songs much ado to the exuberance through which Denzel spits and the outstanding production that the tracks emit.
In all, Denzel Curry's Nostalgia 64
is a crossbreed of the best parts of both the old-school and the new-school. Through the idea's that hip-hop shouldn't just be guns/drugs/sex that A Tribe Called Quest brought to the table, to the modern trap beats that have risen to prominence, Nostaglia 64
is a venture into both the old and the new. Sure to have fans of both the forward thinking hip-hop tandem as well as those just looking for a beat that bumps, Denzel brings forth an album that doesn't disappoint from any aspect and is a must listen to any fan of Hip-Hop.