Music

Denzel Curry & the Cold-Blooded Soul Band Perform Jazzy Album Cuts on NPR’s ‘Tiny Desk’

Denzel Curry performed popular songs from Melt My Eyez See Your Future and older albums alongside Cold-Blooded Soul Band for the latest NPR Tiny Desk.

The latest performance for NPR’s Tiny Desk series, out this morning, sees Miami’s multi-hyphenate hip-hop magnate Denzel Curry performing a mix of songs from his 2022 album, Melt My Eyez See Your Future.

Performing with the 10-piece Cold-Blooded Soul Band — and within the stripped-down confines of the classic desk space — the performance highlighted the detailed psychedelic neo-soul soundscapes of his latest album and brought new life to staples of his past discography.

Here is the setlist:

“Melt Session #1”
“Walkin”
“Troubles”
“DIET_”
“CLOUT COBAIN | CLOUT CO13A1N”
“RICKY”

Curry’s music has always had a bit of post-apocalyptic edge to it. On previous albums, his gravelly cadence texturized aggressive bars and loud beats. On his latest, the apocalyptic scene shifted from man against the world to man against himself. Drifting through an apocalypse of the mind, Curry is just as fierce but the album accents his heightened introspection with a sound that’s jazzier, more soulful, and more psychedelic.

The resulting project is the first of his discography that truly feels naturally performed with the MC sitting atop a stool and wielding a mic within the confines of the Tiny Desk experience. Opening on the Robert Glasper-produced, “Melt Session #1,” the live band builds an atmospheric feel that carries across even the later tracks from older records. The horn-heavy palette of the live band laces the emcee’s flow with the feeling of a psychedelic noir.

Curry got an assist on the ad-libs for “Walkin” and “Troubles” from his longtime tour DJ, DJ POSHtronaut, and dedicates the latter song to T-Pain, who featured on the studio recording. The dedication is also fitting to hear in this setting since it was the autotune legend’s entirely acoustic 2014 Tiny Desk performance that helped propel the series into becoming a launchpad for musicians of color.

A back-catalog of shorter tracks favored Curry under the 20 minute time constraint of Tiny Desk, giving him time to play six songs in total. In addition to the three crowd favorites from Melt My Eyez See Your Future, he also performed “DIET_” from the 2020 Kenny Beats-produced UNLOCKED; “CLOUT COBAIN | CLOUT CO13A1N” from his 2018 classic, TA13OO; and the energetic closer “RICKY” from 2019’s ZUU.

NPR’s beloved Tiny Desk returned to the office for the first time since March of 2020 last week with performances from Ravyn Lenae and Maverick City Music. Curry’s performance added to Tiny Desk’s celebration of Black Music Month.

Brandon Hill

Brandon is a young writer from Illinois. His love of storytelling draws him to hip hop and journalism.

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