‘Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.’
Ralph Waldo Emerson said that, and he was a really smart guy who wrote books and could do cool tricks on his bike. Another wise dude named Robert Frost said, ‘Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.’ Robert Frost was a poet and, funnily enough, so is the guy we’re here to talk about: Denzel Curry.
Like Bobby Frost before him, Denzel Curry has chosen to make his own lane in the rap game and the fruits of his alternate labours (pineapples, oranges, grapes etc) are there for all to see. The new face of Vans Old Skool, Denzel (aka Aquarius’KillaRaven, aka Miyagi, aka Zeltron, aka 6 Billion, aka Black Metal Terrorist, aka Denny Cascade, aka Zel) dropped his first mixtape in 2011, and since then has gone from strength to strength, releasing genre-bending music, performing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and clocking up YouTube views by the millions—all thanks to a trailblazer mindset. We hit up Denzel for 5 artistic pioneers that inspired him to make his own lane.
Akira Kurosawa: Director. ‘There’s something about Kurosawa’s sense of direction; he’s been the blueprint for many other visual geniuses that I look up to. He understands movement so well, that’s such a big part of my personality that I always find myself returning to his work for inspiration.’
Quentin Tarantino: Director. ‘He’s a gateway to all the sub-genres that I love. From Kung-Fu to Spaghetti Westerns to Grindhouse. He introduced me to Shadow Warriors and Sergio Leone films.’
André 3000: Musician. ‘His existence is unexplainable. Musical perfection in my mind.’
Shinichirō Watanabe: Animator. ‘I’ve been watching his anime since I was a child. He’s been a big stylistic influence on a lot of my art. We share so many similar influences, it’s safe to say that he indirectly pointed me towards many of those throughout my youth.’
Christopher Nolan: Director. ‘Timing and patience are things I’ve learned from studying his films. How he can be so concise but at the same time explore the freedom of storytelling without being boxed-in is crazy.’
Make your own lane with Vans Old Skool here.