Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats - UNLOCKED
Feb 7, 2020
Denzel Curry's second "fleshing out?¿" of 2020 is a sign of many things.

One month deep into the year, and this gentleman already released two projects. This time a collab with Kenny Beats. I didn't review the EP that dropped last month, because I didn't find anything interesting in it. The Lo-Fi trap vibe was cool, but the structuring was poor and the songs didn't give their full potential. Usually, I'm a fan of projects like this, they don't exhaust you, and they often have a clear, straightforward idea, but that project wasn't the case. I'd probably score it somewhere in the high 40's. But I gotta admit, the batch of songs there were promising, and could've been pretty great Denzel Curry songs if they were mastered better.

This project however, while not that much promotion behind it, and only sitting at 17 minutes, seems like an actually fully realised idea of a project. Strong Madvillainy vibes emanate from the cover, right? You guessed it. Madlib and Denzel Curry fabricate here what's pretty much modern hip-hop's response to one of the most influential, acclaimed and glorified albums ever.

There are many similarities: The Lo-fi aesthetics in the production, the cartoony vibe, the skits are displayed in a similar way, even Denzel Curry seems like caring a bit less about just merciless flexing and a bit more about actually dropping bars and seeking infectious flows.

And let me say that this experiment is a big success. We all know going into this that Kenny Beats is one of the best and most versatile producers now, and he has great chemistry with Curry, who is one of the most capable rappers last decade: all of it shows up here.

The production is punchy, haunting, sample-horny, simple but dense, while not beinf too blown out or "banger-material". The beats give a great consistent vibe, but still leave weight for Zel to fill, and unlike some track off of Zuu, he seems to be on his good manners here. His flows are expressive, focused and pretty ups his pen-game quite a lot.

There's not a single dud here. You can't afford to have one in 17 mins, and these two are clearly aware of that. Also, going back to the intro of this review. What does UNLOCKED mean to Denzel? His previous release didn't leave much of an impact on me, but if a Denzel X Kenny project as good and with as big a concept as this just gets dropped like that without any promotion whatsoever, it might mean that Denzel is still spoonfeeding us slowly, before he releases his actual album we all anticipate since TA13OO. Fingers crossed, but UNLOCKED is a very good sign.
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