Denzel Curry and friends took over The Pageant in St. Louis for a nonstop hip hop blowout that reminded everyone why the Florida-born rapper is still a force to be reckoned with. Kicking off the show was a rapper from North Carolina by the name of Deniro Farrar. The 35-year-old MC set the tone for the rest of the night, which was full off sets that heavily involved performing in the crowd and using aggressive and fast lyrics to amp the fans up. Farrar’s raspy voice lent itself to the aggressive and methodical flow of his songs. The crowd got especially hyped when he performed hit song “So Long”.
By the time he got back onstage, everyone in the crowd was out of breath and sweating from the amount of jumping they’d done.
Following Deniro was a rapper known as playthatboizay, who, like Curry, is from Florida. Zay brought just as much energy as Farrar. His music is self-described as having a sound that varies between smooth melodies and distorted trap 808s. This held pretty true for his performance, which consisted of an interesting combination of high energy and slower, more reflective moments.
The third set of the night was performed by Redveil. The 18-year-old rapper and producer from Maryland’s sound is reminiscent of Earl Sweatshirt’s middle albums. Bright and sunny beats were juxtaposed by Redveil’s monotonous and deliberate lyrical flows. All-in-all, the performance was awesome (especially from such a young artist) and further helped to amp the crowd up.
The final act before Denzel Curry’s headlining set was performed by a hip hop collective out of the East Bay Area of San Francisco called AG Club. Its core musical contributors are Baby Boy, Jody Fontaine and Mick Antony. Their show was the final piece in the puzzle to prepare the crowd for the devastating force of Denzel Curry. Working the crowd from both ends, the crew spent most of their time on opposite ends of the stage (and almost half of the show in the crowd). Blending musical influences, you could label the group as ‘hip hop’ although their sound draws influence from genres of all shapes and sizes. The two rappers onstage tag-teamed their way through the set, taking turns pumping the crowd’s energy in a way that seemed like it came naturally.
Finally, after the crowd thought they couldn’t mosh any harder, Denzel Curry took the stage and brought the house down.
As the rapper from the Sunshine State took the stage and immediately began fluidly rapping at the crowd, it was hard to deny the charisma and raw energy that Curry commands. From his 2015 smash hit “Ultimate” to his feature on Glass Animals‘ 2016 hit pop single “Tokyo Drifting”, Denzel Curry’s has shown that his range is great and his ability to instantly bring the hype levels of a song to over 9,000 is undeniable. As he rapped his way through the setlist, every fan in the crowd rapped with, both feeding off of and feeding into Curry’s energy.
Curry’s latest project, Melt My Eyes See Your Future, an album he released in March of 2022, includes features from heavyweights like Robert Glasper, T-Pain, 6lack, JID, Thundercat and more. During his set, Curry played several songs off the new project, putting his dynamic and forceful talents on display. The fans didn’t seem to care whether he was playing old or new songs, as they rapped along to all of them. Nothing could prepare them for the surprise appearance of fellow rapper (and Denzel Curry’s cousin) Smino. Fans lost their minds as he and Curry played Smino’s hit “KLINK”.
As the show drew to a close, all of Curry’s supporting acts joined him onstage for one final farewell as they — and the crowd — left whatever energy they had left on the dance floor. Denzel Curry will continue to play shows across the U.S. and Canada this fall, and although he just dropped an album a couple of months ago, it’s a pretty safe bet that we can expect to see him popping up in all sorts of features in the near future, as well.
Photography by Sean Rider