Carol City MC Denzel Curry’s 2016 Imperial marked him as a young artist to watch. His blend of energetic lyricism and introspection over oft-compelling 808-based production has carved a promising path for him as a voice for the downtrodden. How promising? This weekend, he’s set to make his Coachella debut.
Before he hit the stage though, he decided to release a video for “Goodnight,” a song that was on the October re-release of Imperial in the place of “Pure Enough.” Unlike rappers who release music at a breakneck pace, Denzel seems to want his projects to marinate for maximum impact.
A listen to “Goodnight” explains why, as he incisively analyzes the pathology of inner city existence, where “you ain’t really gotta die to lose your life.” Even though Nell, who features on the song, claims not to be able to “explain the epidemics” of life in Carol City, the two do a strong job of explaining that the fatalistic atmosphere is all an affect of being thrown in a figurative hive where little besides despair and a desire to chase fleeting “strips” linger. Perhaps that’s why they’ve grimly surmised, “even if they hit me on sight, everything gon’ be alright.”
The visuals, directed by David Wept, shows the city through the eyes of a young boy, walking past constant conflict-–then what appears to be a joyous outing with Denzel and family. Shots of hands being used to attack alternate with shots of hands caressing sunflowers.
The juxtaposition seems to be a visual metaphor for the optimism Denzel, Nell and all their peers attempt to hold fast to in the midst of a brutal predicament.