Today, Feb. 16, is the 24th birthday of Miami rapper, Denzel Curry!

Growing up in the Carol City section of Miami Gardens, Denzel started getting into music from an early age. When asked what music he grew up with in a 2013 interview with XXL, Curry said, "I grew up like, since I had a lot of brothers, I grew up listening to Hot Boys, Goodie Mob, OutKast, basically all the southern albums, like Silkk the Shocker, Master P, Soulja Slim and then it just elevated on when I started getting into music and I started listening to Nas and Jay Z and stuff like that, and Lupe Fiasco and whatnot."

While still in high school, the young MC released his first mixtape, King Remembered Underground Tape 1991–1995, in 2011, and around the same time, joined fellow rapper SpaceGhostPurrp's crew, Raider Klan. As Denzel began to release more music and gain a fan base online, he caught the attention of MCs like Odd Future's Earl Sweatshirt and fellow Floridian, Rick Ross.

By 2013, SpaceGhostPurrp's Raider Klan disbanded and Denzel independently released his debut album, Nostalgic 64, in September 2013. Following a successful tour, a double EP, 32 Zel/Planet Shrooms, and his sophomore LP, Imperial, Denzel was named as a member of the 2016 XXL Freshman class. Zel joined the class alongside some of the game's biggest up and comers like Lil Yachty, Kodak Black, 21 Savage, J.I.D. and more.

After signing a distribution deal with Loma Vista Records, Denzel focused on putting out his label debut, as well as a compilation album, featuring the rappers and singers of his hometown collective C9 Crew. In 2017, he put out an EP titled 13 and began to tease his third album, Ta13oo. 

After months of anticipation, the former XXL Freshman dropped the three-part LP, Ta13ooat the tail-end of July 2018, with plans to make an album that altered the course of hip-hop. "I’m gon’ cause a radical-ass change in the rap game," he explained in the Summer 2018 issue of XXL. "Everybody wanna touch on the subject but ain’t nobody doing [anything] about it except for people like Kendrick [Lamar] and all them; they’re pushing the envelope constantly."

By most accounts, the "Clout Cobain" MC delivered on his promise with Ta13oo, and the eclectic album was widely praised by fans and critics alike. The project reached a peak position of No. 28 on the Billboard 200 and landed itself on our list of the best hip-hop projects of 2018.

Up next, Denzel has announced that he has plans to "Switch It Up," by preparing to release both a dubstep album and some sort of collaboration with legendary country singer and marijuana activist Willie Nelson.

Happy Birthday, Zel!

See Behind-the-Scenes Photos of Denzel Curry at 2016 XXL Freshman Class Cover Shoot

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