Your hometown is supposed to have your back. As an artist, you expect your local fan base to share your unmastered single from Spotify, get you hype during a performance, and help raise your clout on social media.
But that’s not always the case.
Being a rapper in Miami is tough, and it's even tougher to get your fans behind you because they often don’t take you seriously. These are your co-workers and your high-school-English classmates, so supporting your SoundCloud-rapper fantasies isn’t at the top of their to-do list. Your hometown is the biggest source of hate.
Denzel Curry knows this. It's why he moved to Los Angeles.
Curry, age 23, is from Carol City. He's been rapping since he was 16, so the local scene is probably tired of his shit. He's dropped five projects in that time, including his latest album, Ta13oo, released earlier this year. Curry has worked his way up from backyard shows to local showcases to Rolling Loud’s festival stage last year. But while this career began to grow, so did the haters.
“Your hometown won’t mess with you if they see you too often,” Curry says. “And they won’t appreciate you if you do something regular every time you come back.”
He left South Florida around April 2017. “I had a strange feeling. My intuition was telling me that people were going to start hating me for some reason and I needed to make a change in my life,” he says. A romantic relationship had ended, and he was at odds with his family. “I’ve had to be selfish for once and focus on me. It helped me a lot with focusing on myself and my craft and falling in love with making art again and getting rid of toxic people in my life. So far, resources here [in L.A.] are a lot more than what Miami has ever offered me in my entire life.”
Leaving Miami was the best decision Curry has made in his career. Once you’ve gained your grounding in a city, it's hard to break your own glass ceiling. Everything becomes ritual. You’re working with the same producers, bringing in the same features, and becoming comfortable in your surroundings. “I couldn’t get the producers and make the connections I wanted to make staying in Miami. I felt, musically, I was in a rut,” Curry says. “I was being lazy with making anything until I came out here, away from all the things that were familiar to me. It’s important to be uncomfortable because it breeds growth.”
Curry grew musically after his move only because he had a plan to do so. “After making the album and moving, I did what I planned well — make people miss and appreciate me more," he says. "I couldn’t let them get used to seeing me. Not everyone is going to like me, and I’m OK with that. My only request is: Don’t comment on my shit, and stay the fuck away from me.”
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But haters will always comment on your shit. Now that he's been away from his hometown for more than a year, fans and haters alike are eager to feel the energy Curry brings to the stage anytime he performs. His only Miami show of the year — Red Bull Music Presents: Zeltron v. Zombies with New York’s Flatbush Zombies — offers a glimpse of what he's been working on since his album release.
Living in Los Angeles has allowed Curry to be more aware of and focused on his music career and its direction, so his only Miami show will be a treat. You can expect his staple hits, favorites from his latest album, and “two legends going back-to-back creating an animal house of chaotic events."
Better take it in while you can. “This is my only show," Curry says, "'cause I want it to be rare to see and be a part of what I’m doing."