Pain and Depression in the Mind of Denzel Curry

Music Video Analysis: “Black Balloons Reprise” by Flying Lotus feat. Denzel Curry

by Colin Hodgson

Introduction

If you haven’t hopped on the Denzel Curry bandwagon yet, you’re missing out. The Carol City native is one of the most highly regarded rappers of his generation and has been on the rise since his breakout single “Ultimate” in 2015. His lyricism and delivery are incredibly creative, and his consistency is unmatched. Each bar, song, and album is different from the last yet somehow manages to reach new levels each time. This is also true of his music videos as he experiments with different styles to match the tone and meaning of each song.

Context

Denzel Curry performs at such a high level despite — or perhaps because of — an incredibly difficult life full of tragedy and loss. His brother died after being tasered by police, his close friend XXXTentacion was shot, and the list goes on. Curry uses music as a therapeutic outlet for the anger and depression that has resulted from these hardships. The clearest example of this is in his album TA13OO, released July 27, 2018.

Denzel Curry. TA13OO, PH Recordings, 2018.

Analysis

The “Black Balloons Reprise” music video can be categorized as a concept video centered around the theme of all-consuming depression and darkness. The scene are not connected except with regards to thematic elements or the emotions expressed and aroused.

Conclusion

The music video for “Black Balloons Reprise” stays true to the thematic vision of Denzel Curry and Flying Lotus. The director, Jack Begert, explores the internal manifestation of depression and pain and depicts how these widespread issues go unnoticed in America. Through the imagery of the black balloon, Begert creates a feeling of helplessness in the face of pain and suffering. The final two shots, however, offer a glimmer of hope. Curry’s attempt to fight through the balloons shows a human strength to persevere no matter how desperate the circumstances. The reference to Mac Miller in the final shot suggests that the impact we have while we’re alive lasts longer than our physical bodies. In this way we can overcome the darkness.

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