Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats - UNLOCKED (Album Review)

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

Not long after dropping a short project titled '13LOOD 1N + 13LOOD OUT MIXX' Denzel Curry is back at it again collaborating with long term friend and producer Kenny Beats on the 8 track, short album 'UNLOCKED'. Originally it was dropped on YouTube as an animation where Denzel & Kenny would search for the lost files - it also had some pretty crazy promotion beforehand with Denzel threatening to run up on Kenny on his Instagram live for ratting him out. But now, we are here, at this point, so into the album review. Denzel always drops fire, and there is no change up for his second project of 2020. Firstly, we'll focus on why Kenny has been brought in - the production. Kenny does a fantastic job with his gloomy and grim production creating an open space for Denzel and allowing him so much room to do what he does. It's so varied yet so cohesive and clearly takes some inspiration from MF DOOM. The added sci-fi noises which are hidden in the production all throughout bring it all together and it's evident their chemistry is great.


To turn our attention to Denzel, his punchlines are witty and clever and my favourite part of his lyrics - punchlines focused on TV, music, anime or any other pop culture is on patrol during the length of this LP. His delivery as usual has such high levels of energy and when it's over the obscure production it just makes the tracks go so hard and get you hyped. However, he has the perfect balance between that aggressive flow and his calmer flow often found on 'TA1300', still creating the right amount of energy.. His flow is constantly switching as well and at any given moment it doesn't sound bad and rides the beat perfectly. The prevalent vocal shifts (ranging from high to low) come at unexpected times to grab your attention if for some reason losing it and adds a new dynamic to each of these songs making them that extra bit enjoyable. Let's not forget it's also just under 18 minutes making it so easy to listen to and giving it that bit more replay value than you'd get with a longer studio album.


The album begins with track one titled simply, 'Track 01'. It sets the tone of the album from early on beginning with a nice spoken word introduction about Denzel's mental state. We then get the first beat of Kenny's, kicking in so grimy but so good which becomes a recurring theme. A short verse from Denzel follows where he uses different affects on his voice which is sonically pleasing - a good start to the album. The first proper track of the album then follows with 'Take_it_Back_v2'. Denzel's flow switches are great during verse one, we're then introduced to a quick change in pace with the hook to keep that element interesting. The change of pitch to a low pitch in verse two is unexpected and great, with Kenny's beat again being murky and them drums allowing Denzel the room to experiment as he wants. Yeah the weird titles continue with track three 'Lay_Up.m4a' and because I found out he doesn't say dildo during the hook - the track is saved! Despite that the hook is a bit meh but Kenny's beat is once again perfect and Denzel's verses are a verbal attack on his competition with some of his lines going so hard and his menacing energy making them so intimidating, "Body shame game aim is intense//Surfboard body ass boy with your fish tits". Just before the half way point of the eight track album we get 'Pyro (leak 2019)'. It's short, sweet - clever little track. It's one big verse and does have a few clever lines to keep it interesting, "My bitch bad like battle rappers that make albums with no outcome". As usual his flow is solid and we have a nice instrumental from Kenny - comparing well to the other three songs we've had so far.


Side B starts with 'DIET_' and all I can really say about this track is it contains similar qualities to the other tracks but seems a bit watered down so I don't think it qualifies as one of my favourites. My least favourite track follows titled 'So.Incredible.pkg'. It's not a horrible track and has qualities such as a smooth Denzel flow and solid verses. However, the issue lies with Kenny for the first and only time on this album, as his beats a little bland and forgettable. For this album to be a success we need both parties on form. After a nice interlude in 'Track07' we move onto '' Cosmic ' .m4a'. It's a nice ending, probably Denzel's best flow over Kenny's boom bap beat which resembles JPEGMafia's production and sounds great. Another example of using them voice pitches to keep things interesting and is a great finale to a solid album.


Denzel & Kenny's creative 8 track album takes an experimental twist - and it's safe to say it pays off! Denzel Curry's batting average is high at this minute in time - and it stays high with this LP and we can once again look forward to what the future brings for this talented MC and this talented producer.


FAVOURITE TRACKS: Take_it_Back_v2, DIET_, ' Cosmic ' .m4a


LEAST FAVOURITE TRACK: Track07


OVERALL RATING: Light 7.5/10


*REVISED SCORE: Review may not match favourite tracks and overall rating because I've since re-listened and changed my score.*

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