For most of 2015, mum was the word for Miami rapper Denzel Curry. The 21-year-old emcee kept a low profile, only emerging once in June to release the double EP, 32 Zel/Planet Shrooms. Fans took notice of his absence, wondering what had happened to the ambitious young artist who has been churning out a steady stream of music since the age of 16. Had he retired from the music industry? Or was he taking a break?
The answer: neither. Instead, he was plotting his transformation.
Curry’s decision to tweak his image and sound came after a conversation he had with André 3000 — “my idol,” he says — at an art gallery in the Wynwood District of Miami at the tail end of 2014.
“I knew that if I was going to ask him something, I wasn’t just going to ask for a picture,” Curry says. “I was going to ask him something that was going to change my life, and really, that’s what happened.”
He ended up asking André 3000 a few questions, like “What do you do to stay relevant?” and “What keeps you going?” The former OutKast member’s answers were startlingly simple — “He was like, ‘Just don’t get bored. That’s how you succeed and have fun,’ ” Curry says — but it was enough to jumpstart the younger rapper’s ambitions to modify things in his own life and make the mundane less mundane. (Click here to read more)
Phillip Pessar‘s Flickr stream reads like a love letter to Miami. In roughly 9,600 photos, it tells the story of South Florida’s ever-changing architectural landscape.
The photos are simple — many of them head-on shots of old department stores, abandoned burger joints, historic hotels, and bulldozed office buildings. There are no fancy editing tricks or filters, just straightforward photography. Every day, almost without fail, new pictures are added. And all consist of the same thing: images of Miami and South Florida architecture in various stages of decay, disarray, remodeling, or rebuilding.
His photos are regularly used in articles and on news blogs. They’re in the Huffington Post, Forbes, USA Today, and theMiami Herald, to name just a few. They’re also featured in cookbooks, travel guides, insurance advertisements, and real-estate blog posts. But in the ten years Pessar has been taking photos, he hasn’t seen a dime. His work is available under Flickr’s Creative Commons and can be used by anyone as long as they give him credit.
Though Pessar’s photographs might be unremarkable, he has found a niche cataloging the mundane and quotidian: a bankrupt Radio Shack location, a Wet Seal store going out of business, an Airstream trailer outfitted into a food truck. (Click here to read more)
IT’S SPRINGTIME IN HOLLYWOOD. The sky is cloudless and blue. Tourists bake in the sun and the Hollywood sign winks from the hills. A low-flying plane poops smoke trails overhead. On the rooftop of a 1920s apartment building, two girls are smoking a joint and listening to music from a cell phone.
“Genius, right?” says the girl with the blue hair, who goes by the name Twiggy Rasta Masta. She has gold-encased teeth and a slight Spanish accent. Brown liner is stenciled around her lips and a gold chain hangs from her neck. The inside of her left wrist reads, “Yeah!”
“So good,” agrees her friend, Bootychaaain. She has short hair, like a boy’s — curly on top, buzzed on the sides. Her nails are teal and over three-inches long, perfect for holding stubby joints.
Busted out the womb, is the Young Daughter, sings the third member of their crew. Heard your ass was thirsty/Need some fuckin’ water. Her voice is wan and she sounds bored. (Click here to read more)
Lofty305 woke up at 9:40 a.m. in his Midtown Manhattan apartment. It was a Monday. He brushed his teeth with non-fluoride toothpaste and rinsed his XS afro with coconut oil. He ate two Butterfingers, worked out at the building’s gym, and snacked on hummus. Then he started painting.
He painted a pink portal with two mounds (“ladies boobs”) coming out of it. He painted long tubular tentacles — one wrapped around the body of a naked lady (“healing her”), another squeezing the life out of a blue shark. He painted jet skies and he painted lamps. He painted a “little shepherd dragon” and a ridge of mountains that looked like watermelon slices. (Click here to read more)
If you follow internet rap, then chances are you’ve heard something from Miami’s latest underground phonk rapper, N3ll. Though he’s been making music since 2008, word has only started getting out about the young MC these past few years.
His 2014 mixtape, Boyz N the Hood, was a SoundCloud sensation, with featured songs by Miami’s current golden boy, Denzel Curry. Last week, he dropped his newest mixtape, The Screw Tape, a hazy, ’90s mashup with features by Amber London and Twelve’len.
Crossfade got a chance to interview the burgeoning artist about his musical origins and future plans. Who is N3ll? we wondered. Where did he come from? How did he get into into rap, and where is he going with it? Read the interview to find out.
New Times: What is your real name?
How old are you?
I’m 20. I’m about to be 21 at the end of this month.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the heart of Miami, Carol City, where everything goes down. I’ve actually been in this area since I was born. You know, I’ve never been anywhere other than Miami unless I was traveling for music or something. This is where I’ve lived my whole life. (Click here to read more)
In the bowels of Craigslist, buried in the catacombs of ‘Community’ is an ad with a plaintive plea. “WE NEED A MURAL!” its title reads in all caps. “SHOW US WHAT YOU CAN DO!” It’s a pithy post, no longer than one sentence, with a photo of a long, single-story warehouse. From its base to its asbestos shingled roof, the building is coated in the same drab grey hue. One half of its awning (also grey) reads, “Warehouse Project;” the other half, “Men’s Corner.” It definitely needs a makeover.
“It’s pretty ugly,” says artist and gallery owner Danilo Gonzalez, who commissioned the ad. The building, a former apparel storage facility, had been abandoned for over five years when Gonzalez signed the lease back in 2012. The surrounding neighborhood was a ghost town and the only nearby business was the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse. But Gonzalez had a hunch that things would change. Development in Wynwood, he believed, was to going move west, towards the freeway, not east towards Miami Avenue. “People thought I was crazy.”
It’s been a tumultuous three years for singer-songwriter Kat Dahlia.
In 2012, the fledgling recording artist and former waitress signed a recording contract with Epic Records. A year later, she released her first single, the piano-laced hit “Gangsta,” which ranked 47th on Billboard‘s Hop R&B Songs of 2013 list and has garnered more than 15 million views on YouTube so far.
But then things went south. She couldn’t hit her notes. Something was wrong with her voice. She had a cyst on her vocal chord, it turned out, and her singing career, she learned, was in jeopardy. Her tour was cancelled. Her album was put on hold. For 10 days straight, she couldn’t speak a word. She stopped socializing and became a hermit. She even changed her phone number. It took six months for her to fully recover, but by the end of 2014, she was back in the studio. She wrote some new songs. She went on tour. And most importantly, she finally finished her album. (Click here to read more)
Ever since “Pussy,” Iggy Azalea’s infamous ode to the female sex organ, went viral on YouTube in 2011, fans and haters alike have been clamoring for more from the young artist. But The New Classic, her oft-delayed, debut album, has been a long time coming.
Buzz for The New Classic traces back to December 2011 when the rapper revealed the title of her album during an interview. In early 2012, she hinted at a June release date, but due to record label conflicts, had to postpone the drop until 2013. By June of 2013, The New Classic, though reputedly “almost finished,” had still not been released. She told MTV that it would be out in September, pushed it back to October, and then changed it to March of 2014. In February, she announced a new release date in April, though there were conflicting rumors as to the exact day it would come out. Some heard it would be the 14th, others the 15th, and still others thought maybe the 18th. Finally, after over two and a half years of misinformation and false hype, The New Classic was released on Monday, April 21st.