Prince Daddy Goes Mature | “Curly Q” by Prince Daddy & The Hyena


Lucas Polack, Writer/Volunteer

After premiering their first new song in two years in a virtual show for Vans Channel 66’s BrooklynVegan Show, Prince Daddy & The Hyena released “Curly Q” on Oct. 21. 

Last fans heard from New York twinkle-punkers was their 2019 rock opera, Cosmic Thrill Seekers. The record was marked by lead singer Kory Gregory’s trademark snotty, snarling screech, best exemplified on tracks “Dialogue” and “Trying Times.” 

Their newest single ditches that screech entirely. My first time listening, I wasn’t sure if it was the same guy singing. “Curly Q” is everything a Prince Daddy song isn’t: a slow burn, largely acoustic, ethereal, subtle, mature — it even features a string section.

But that’s not to say it’s an entirely different band on “Curly Q.” Gregory’s vocal approach remains intense, but he’s now singing with more range and finesse. And lyrically, the subject matter picks things up right where “Wacky Misadventures of the Passenger,” the closer on their last album, left them: irrationally petrified about what lies way too far down the road.

“You’ll be within ugly’s reach /

And the sun will explode /

You’ll be burning underneath /

You’ll find out when you’re old /

Family counts as company.”

According to Genius, Gregory wrote the song for his nephew, which places it vaguely close to “Hey Jude” territory. The only difference being, “Curly Q” is not encouraging in the conventional sense; it’s brimming with feelings of doom and destruction. In true, anxiety-ridden P Daddy fashion, it’s a tribute song that focuses on all the worst things. 

To be fair, though, it does leave things on a light note:

“Life sprouts up like a leaf /

Eyes glisten from the greens and blues /

Drift towards the royal hues.”

Sonically, it’s a sobering song with tinny guitars, somber, drawn-out strings and chimes that glimmer. It’s a drastic shift to a more refined style from a characteristically maximalist band. Of course, that maximalism returns in a colossal guitar solo that concludes the song. In the best way possible, all Prince Daddy guitar solos sound the same, which is possibly because it’s the only way they know how to articulate feelings like encouragement, triumph and anything generally good.

However, “Curly Q” certainly articulates feelings that no other P Daddy song has before, like calmness and an affecting combination of delicacy and stability. Ironically, the band that was singing about porn, being bored and wanting to kick old people’s asses five years ago totally stuck the landing in the mature stage of a band’s evolution.  

On the same day as the release of “Curly Q,” Prince Daddy migrated from emo powerhouse Counter Intuitive Records to Pure Noise Records. Is that sign? Is “Curly Q” the first sample of their capital-D Departure in sound? Or a one-off single before moving forward with their next album? 

Considering the world of difference between “Curly Q” and just about every previous P Daddy song — save for Cosmic Thrill Seekers vignette “Dream Nails” — their next release could fall anywhere in the middle of those two seemingly-polar opposites. But after the initial shock of hearing Gregory’s voice after he finally decided to clear his throat, what remains behind “Curly Q” is everything Prince Daddy built their name on.