The Music Entertainment Committee (MEC) hosted south-Floridan rapper Denzel Curry for a rousing hour-long performance on the Pause Mane Stage two weekends ago.
When Curry was announced as the featured artist at this year’s fall concert, there were equal exclamations of confusion and excitement. I overheard — in classes, in the Caf and in the Cage — students expressing sentiments akin to, “Who is this guy?” in regards to the energetic wordsmith.
“I had never heard of Denzel before,” John McAllister ’22, who hails from Edina and drives a BMW to his lake house on weekends, said. “I listened to some songs from his album ‘TA13OO’ and I must say, I really didn’t like it. I couldn’t understand what he was saying.” I shook my head and thanked him for the conversation.
Despite the revealed aversion for the music of Curry, I saw many students who shared these feelings of distaste, including McAllister himself, at the concert.
I must say, in all my experience at heavier, more energetic performances, I have never seen a group of people look more out of place. This was especially true at the beginning of the performance; there was palpable apprehension in the crowd.
However, following the performance I looked around and witnessed once-uptight students chattering eagerly with friends, covered in sweat after surging in the crowd for over an hour.
“I didn’t know what to expect coming into this,” Judy Matheson ’21 said in a brief interview after the concert. “Now, I must say, that was a really exciting performance!”
Matheson was not alone; other students were equally as surprised after listening to Curry deliver an impassioned performance that included a popular XXXtentacion and classic Rage Against the Machine song.
“Man, that was fantastic,” Josh Jackson ’23 said after the performance. “I’d totally listen to more of Denzel’s stuff. Unexpectedly awesome!”
Finally, I was able to catch up with McAllister, who was standing apart from the rest of the crowd during the performance, nodding his head approvingly.
“I didn’t have anything better to do tonight, so I figured I’d show up,” McAllister told me. “And, wow, I’m glad I did. After actually listening to more of Denzel’s music, I must say, I’m pleasantly surprised.”