ALBUM REVIEW: All Bets Are Off on Denzel Curry’s ‘TA13OO’

The most innovative and artful trap record you’ve ever heard.

Denzel Curry cements his status as a modern rap legend with what might be his best album yet, TA13OO.

Curry has been an innovator in the trap scene since 2013, blending horrorcore and trap to help create what we think of as “SoundCloud Rap.” This project is full of nods to Curry’s origins, but he also explores new ground.

TA13OO is split into three EPs – “Light,” “Gray” and “Dark” – and the production and vocal delivery, especially on the first disc, fit those themes. The title track is one of the most soulful songs he’s released, with a soft instrumental and Tyler, the Creator-esque singing. The rest of the disc features unlikely influence from boom bap and future funk, as well as the typical Curry sound, making it the most varied on the project.

However, the other two discs are still filled with amazing songs, all of which build themes of Curry’s underdog-on-top character. This includes ranting at the music industry, fake fans, and the police, and lamenting about the loss of his friend, recently killed rap star XXXTentacion, not to mention an interesting, albeit strange and fickle narrative about Curry being in love with an underage woman.

Even with all of these lyrical themes to unpack, the album is never too depressing, with Curry spitting hilariously clever similes on a wide range of subjects, like on “SUMO,” which references Uno, chowder, and little league sports. He utilized crazy flows and voices on songs like “SWITCH IT UP,” while delivering sensible observations on modern culture with songs like “THE BLACKEST BALLOON.”

To add to the lyrical carnage, features from amazing rappers like J.I.D., GoldLink and JPEGMAFIA (who’s 2-second long 6ix9ine impression on “VENGEANCE” is a must-hear) are seamless, focused, and just as good as Curry.

All in all, TA13OO is lyrically diverse, packed wall-to-wall with bangers, and a perfect example of what a trap album should sound like.

Score: 🎈🎈🎈🎈🎈/5