When it was time for the C9 collective's Denzel Curry and Mike Dece, Metro Zu's Lofty, and FWAY God to take over Vive Block Party 2014 at The Showroom by 8&9 Clothing, the scene erupted and all of the fans sprinted to the stage.
Dece's single "Yung Ho" is what tipped it off. Alongside him, hyping the crowd, were his C9 brothers Denzel and SDotBraddy.
The next song was Curry's "Ice Age," a modern-day pimp anthem. And Denzel absolutely dismantled the mic.
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We here at Crossfade spoke to SDotBraddy about Curry, who's undoubtedly one of Miami's fastest rising rappers.
"Denzel is a natural born leader," Braddy says. "I know this because a leader can make everyone around you, including himself, a better person. That's what Denzel does for C9. I am extremely proud of him."
It's also about authenticity. And he cites Curry's new video for "Zone 3" as a prime example of his labelmate's uncompromising realness.
"I knew the 'Zone 3' video was going to be a movie. It's just a little preview of what really goes down in this part of Miami. Nothing fabricated at all, it's reality."
Later that night, Braddy, who's putting the finishing touches on his debut Private Sessions EP, hit the stage for "Darius," a track that recounts the night of his older cousin's arrest. His cousin is currently facing 25 year to life.
After that song, Braddy spoke, delivering a heartfelt message in which he asked the crowd to take a moment of silence for Michael Brown and the folks in Ferguson, Missouri.
"We the people are the voice of Ferguson," he said. "Anyone who believes in justice is the voice of Ferguson."
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Offstage, Braddy chatted about his upcoming record: "In C9, we believe in taking your time no matter how long it takes to perfect and make sure your art is ready to impact culture. That's exactly what I'm doing with my album."
After the show, we also spoke with Mark Maturah, head of management at C9, about the moves that he and the crew are making.
"Right now, we are wrapping up Denzel's next album, 32 Zel/Planet Shrooms," Maturah says. "I feel like he's really evolved since the last project. He's producing now, and he's way more focused than he was at 17. So I believe that people are in for something special if they loved [Curry's debut] Nostalgic 64 so much."
Of course, there's tons of other C9 stuff on deck too.
"We're also starting on J.K. The Reaper's solo debut by the name of Digital Tears," Maturah reveals. "And SDotBraddy is almost done with [his record] Private Sessions."
With a new year coming up, fans have been patiently waiting for another batch of C9 releases. But as the manager explains, this triple-header of hotly anticipated Miami rap albums isn't just a product launch. It's a statement of C9's commitment to ambitious, quality hip-hop.
"It's not just about having hot singles with us. We want to make sure our footprint's cemented before we even step in the paint," Maturah says. "I think the art of making solid bodies of work has been lost in this microwave era of music. We just here to bring some type of quality back. And put on for the city. And speak for the youth.
"C9 is The Future," he adds. "2015 is ours. Lots of new music on the way. It's the youth's time to shine in the city. These older cats are going to have to either acknowledge and accept that or retire. No games."
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C9 is here to stay. That's for sure. And the last 365 days were only a glimpse of what the future holds for these young rappers from South Florida.
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