Denzel Curry attends Amazon Music Live Concert Series 2023 on October 05, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
Source: Getty Images

The King of the Mischievous South: Ranking Denzel Curry’s Albums from Least to Most Impact

We ranked Denzel Curry's albums ahead of the release of his project "King of the Mischievous South, Vol. 2" — which one deserves the top spot?

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Jun. 13 2024, Published 2:15 p.m. ET

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Most notable for his creativity as a lyricist, Denzel Curry's subject matter ranges from speaking out against police brutality to anime, having even been featured in Netflix's Yasuke.

Since the release of his debut project, 32 Zel, the Carol City, Fla. rapper has dropped five studio albums, five mixtapes, and countless singles — all of which have received acclaim from fans and fellow rappers alike.

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King of the Mischievous South, Vol. 2, Denzel Curry’s sixth studio album, is set to drop in July 2024, and he shows no signs of slowing down.

We’ve ranked the Florida rapper’s albums from most to least impactful — let’s take a look back at the music that propelled the “HOT ONE” rapper to fame.

6. "32 Zel" (2015)

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Source: C9 Records

'32 Zel' Album Cover

32 Zel is Denzel Curry’s debut EP and features the track that put him on the map. The hit track “Ultimate” is the biggest song from the project and was heard playing at clubs, house parties, and even proms around the nation from 2015 to 2016.

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The track awarded the lyricist his first RIAA certification as it went gold and laid the ground for other SoundCloud rage rap artists to come into the spotlight. “Ultimate” and 32 Zel positioned Denzel Curry as one of the Big 3 rappers of the SoundCloud Era, alongside XXXTentacion and Ski Mask The Slump God.

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5. "ZUU" (2019)

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Source: Loma Vista Recordings

'ZUU' Album Cover

Curry’s third studio album, ZUU, brought the rapper even more credibility. Tracks like “RICKY” and “SPEEDBOAT” come up as the biggest hits from the album; with the former earning a gold RIAA certification. The project peaked on the Billboard 200 at No. 32 while peaking on their Top Rap Albums chart at No. 17.

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“BIRDZ,” featuring Rick Ross, is a notable track due to their shared Florida connection. This was the second collaboration and co-sign from the Miami rapper, emphasizing how much of Denzel Curry’s Carol City, Fla. upbringing is heard on the project.

Ahead of their third track together, Rick Ross gave Curry his kudos in an interview with Amazon Music, by saying that “his wordplay, his intention, his heart is very genuine.”

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4. "Imperial" (2016)

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Source: Loma Vista Recordings

'Imperial' Album Cover

Now, this pick may come as a surprise to some Denzel Curry fans, but let me explain.

Imperial is acclaimed by many fans to be his best work, or at least in the top three. The project was his first studio album and released under his label Loma Vista. While it boasts hits like “ULT” and “Zenith”, the album hasn’t been as widely recognized compared to later works.

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“Knotty Head” gave Curry his first Rick Ross feature, and YouTuber Anthony Fantano (AKA @theneedledrop) rated the album a “light eight”. It's still a Carol City classic, but not enough of an impact on Curry’s career for the top three.

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3. "UNLOCKED" (2020)

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Source: Loma Vista/PH Recordings

'UNLOCKED' Album Cover

UNLOCKED, Denzel Curry’s fourth studio album, in collaboration with Kenny Beats, cracks the top three.

While the seven-track project earned no RIAA Certifications, it gave fans hits like “DIET_”, “Take_it_Back_v2”, and “Pyro (leak 2019)”. It peaked at No. 100 on the Billboard Hot 200 and at No. 8 on the Top Album Sales list, inspiring the release of two additional variations of the album.

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The raw creativity, impeccable lyricism, and experimental beats of the project propelled it further without the need for certification or immense acclaim from media outlets. Curry later released the three variations as a vinyl LP under Loma Vista as well.

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2. "TA13OO" (2018)

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Source: Loma Vista Recordings

'TA13OO' Album Cover

Any ranking of Denzel Curry albums seems a bit off without TA13OO in the top three. It’s his most critically acclaimed project and in one listen you understand why. TA13OO provided fans with some of Curry’s most intense tracks, but also some of his most introspective and critical lyrics. The album is a perfect mix of hype and thoughtfulness, proving to be a timeless hip-hop classic.

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“BLACK BALLOONS,” “SUMO,” and “CLOUT COBAIN” are the biggest hits from the album, and the latter even awarded Curry his first platinum RIAA Certification. While only his second studio album, the album peaked at No. 28 and No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 200 and Top Rap Albums charts respectively.

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1. "Melt My Eyez See Your Future" (2022)

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Source: Loma Vista Recordings

'Melt My Eyez See Your Future' Album Cover

Melt My Eyez See Your Future lands at number one on our list. Melt My Eyez See Your Future is Denzel Curry’s latest album and gives us an afro-futuristic matured version of the artist.

Led by the hit singles “Walkin',’” “Troubles,” and “Zatoichi,” the project also provided tracks like “X-Wing” and “Ain’t No Way”. “Walkin’” earned a gold RIAA Certification, and the album peaked at No. 17 and No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 200 and Top Rap Albums charts respectively.

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Melt My Eyez See Your Future’s featured visuals show Denzel Curry in settings that are reminiscent of Star Wars and Star Trek. The album itself feels like a soundtrack to a Zeltron movie that fans never got to see in theaters.

The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.

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