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Red Bull Music Fest: Denzel Curry vs. Joey Bada$$

Photo by Unique Rodriguez | The Signal

Denzel Curry’s alter ego Zeltron faced off with Joey Bada$$ at 787 Windsor this Sunday to kick off the Red Bull Music Festival. 

The Red Bull Music Festival started on November 1st and is going to November 14th. With appearances from artists like Denzel Curry, Joey Bada$$, Ari Lenox, Yung Baby Tate, and more, the festival is sure to attract many with it’s showcasing of Atlanta’s unique, music scene.

Following an exclusive gallery of portraits by Gunner Stahl, Curry and Bada$$ were the first musical act of the two-week-long festival. The two rappers showcased their lyrical prowess in a battle that had the crowd anticipating a riveting performance, between Bada$$’s reputation for fantastic lyricism and Curry’s ability to capture the audience with his thrilling performances. 

Upon arriving at the event, audience members were seen taking pictures beneath hanging, cartoonish figures of Curry and Bada$$ in front of a set of lockers, splayed with yellow posters that advertised the upcoming rap battle. 

The stage itself was actually not a typical stage at all but a wrestling ring, setting the scene for the incredible battle to come. 

Georgia State student and fan Stevonie Jackson expressed excitement before the show began. 

“I saw [Curry] at AfroPunk the year before last,” Jackson said. “I think this performance is going to be dope, honestly. I’ve seen videos of them battling on YouTube, and they really go at each other. I think it’s going to be really interesting to see.”

The pre-show DJ kept the energy high with faced-paced music that had the audience swaying and dancing even before the show started, resulting in the formation of several mosh pits. 

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The pre-show music concluded when a host walked into the ring to introduce a mock wrestling match between a man dressed as a police officer and a man in a wrestling uniform. Complete with dropkicks, jumps, and body slams, the entertaining match had the audience engaged and amused as the police officer tried, in vain, to defeat the wrestler as the audience jeered at him.

The energy of the audience came to a head when Bada$$ entered the ring and was closely followed by Curry. Curry captivated and engaged the crowd in the first round by daring to leave the ring to hype up the crowd even further. Complete with heavy strobe lights and high energy movement, he stole the crowd and left them in awe. 

Bada$$ started the second round telling Curry that his performance was “cute” and saying, “All you do is scream” as he launched into his performance. Leaving the ring himself, he encouraged the crowd to sing along to the lyrics of “No. 99” that they knew so well and told them to start moshing. Curry responded with a set that included less screaming and showed his lyrical prowess. 

The subsequent rounds proved both performers to be winners of the battle and they continued to excited the crowd through their riveting performances and lyrical talent, engaging the audience to since along and become part of the show themselves.