“Clout Cobain” is the latest single from Denzel Curry’s “TA13OO” project. The video is a black-and-white guide to hip-hop’s current youth culture.
Just the facts
Trap drums? Check. Cloud rap sound? Check. Issa Denzel Curry song. Accompanying these familiar elements are Curry’s lyrics which explicitly address suicidal thoughts and celebrity culture. The song’s hook is “Suicidal thoughts call it Kurt Cobain/Suwu leather seats like a bloody stain.” The lyrics aren’t subtle. Curry is clearly talking about his mental health issues and the drugged-up audience watching him perform his circus act (not my metaphor) clearly relate to Curry’s pain.
The black-and-white video features Denzel Curry, face painted like a clown, dancing his jig for the paying customers in the center ring of a circus. It’s evident that Curry feels his role to be a bit demeaning, that under the layers of makeup he is another Pagliacci, doomed to be laughed at while hurting on the inside. The Lynchian visuals and tone of the video somewhat undercut the tragedy of Curry’s situation. As kids gulp down lean, get face tattoos and pop pills, Curry’s pain starts to feel like a sideshow. Which is kind of the whole point…
Generation Z vs. Millennials
Denzel Curry was born in 1995 which is usually the year used as a cutoff for the Millennial generation. (There are those, however, who will call any person younger than them or any person they disagree with a Millennial. What can you do?)
But so Curry is right on the cusp of Millennial and “Clout Cobain” is a good example of a generational meld. There are a few different points of intersection as well as standalone points here:
- Clout. Recently the internet has been treating clout as a new word, but it has been around forever (I’m talking about within the hip-hop community). I’m using this as an excuse to post a Gang Starr video. Anyway, clout was big then and it’s big now.
- Lean. We’re going two decades strong (maybe longer if you’re from the South) on lean. Both generations embraced this substance.
- Face Tattoos. Alright, this is decidedly Generation Z. Face tats used to be a teardrop. Now rappers have to have a bare minimum of 5 face tats to make a hit single.
- Cloud/Emo Rap. Sure, rapping about depression is not new (Notorious B.I.G.), but it used to be that a rapper would have one song in which he/she “got deep” on an album. Now it’s the center of some rappers’ personas. And we’re seeing that fans of rappers like the deceased XXXTentacion really connect with the experiences and mental health issues discussed in their music.
Lastly, it’s fitting that Curry used an icon from a previous generation to title this song which helps define the current generation.
“TA13OO” will be released over the period of 3 days from July 25 to July 27th. “Clout Cobain” is the second single from the album. You can see who is featured on the album and read about the release details here.