Rap retirement announcements have become about as common as clamshells at the beach ever since Jay-Z pump-faked the world with The Black Album in 2003 but that hasn’t stopped rappers from making them. Perhaps it’s owed to rap fans’ propensity for discarding rappers after a few solid years in the game early on in the genre’s history, but even though rappers like Jay himself, Nas, Snoop Dogg, and others have made it clear that there’s plenty of interest in elder-statesman roles in hip-hop, young rappers still dream of bowing out gracefully.
The latest rapper to announce his retirement while still in his prime is Denzel Curry, who told XXL in a recent interview that he’s on the clock with three more albums to go before hanging up his mic. “I always liked my album short,” he elaborated. “Ten tracks is enough. Enough to listen to… I just want you to enjoy my music the way you enjoy a film. It’s meant to be consumed that way. It’s not meant to be like fast food. It’s meant to be like, damn, what did I just have? A full course meal.”
For what it’s worth, the 25-year-old South Florida native has reason to be burned out despite his relative youth. He was, after all, a foundational member in the blog rap collective Raider Klan in 2012, back when Curry was just 17 years old. While many rappers before him entered the game around the same age themselves, many, like LL Cool J, Will Smith, and others, had successfully transitioned to film and TV after a decade in rap. Curry told XXL that in his next phase of life, he’d like to be a cartoonist and a writer.
However, that doesn’t mean he’s in a rush to punch the clock. He says he wants to take his time and “actually use real instruments” on his next project, name-checking André 3000, Flying Lotus, Madlib, and Terrace Martin as collaborators on his wish list. Hopefully, that results in music that will hold up long after he’s done recording new material, although there’s another, more likely outcome — like the many, many rappers before him who said they’d quit, he’ll find that he never really can say goodbye.
Read XXL‘s full profile on Denzel Curry here.