Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats - UNLOCKED
Feb 7, 2020
72
"A tool is only as good as its user", said my brother minutes before he crashed the fancy lawn mower Grandma won at a local fair into a cow pen. Needless to say, we both got a hard ass spanking that day.

Apply this kind of everyday concept to most producer-rapper duos, you'll wind up with the same results. Kenny Beats is the tool, mostly as proficient and creative as the talented MC in which he chooses to collaborate with. Have a bad rapper on the mic and you'll be sure to get some painful spanking from AOTY reviewers. Have a good one, on the other hand, you're on your A-Game, maybe you'll even get some pant-wetting ALL CAPS reviews. That's how you know you've done well! Kenny Beats' consistently admirable output on UNLOCKED not only demonstrates his improvement as a producer overtime, but is also a mere reflection of Denzel's generally outstanding individual versatility and flair. When one collaborates with an artist as eminently energetic as Denzel Curry, they'd know to get their shit together.

Boom bap is an avenue of hip hop left unexplored by Denzel, but recent projects such as the trap mix "13LOOD IN + 13LOOD OUT MIXX" mildly hinted that this Floridan native was perhaps going to venture out into traditional branches of underground hip hop. Bringing Kenny Beats along in the ride, UNLOCKED nicely incorporates production greatly influenced from Madlib and styles from rappers such as MF DOOM, De-La Soul, GZA and Deltron 3030. In fact, Denzel rapping on top of moderately wonky, futuristic boom bap beats sometimes translate into a more aggressive version of Deltron 3030's flow, at least from what I hear.

Running at just 18 minutes in length, this clearly isn't a complete, coherent, conceptual piece like TA13OO. Instead, UNLOCKED serves as simply an interesting change in pace. It's the entertaining novelty that will get fans excited for Denzel's next move. Kenny Beats is producing some of his most creative beats yet, Denzel is as fierce as he ever was. However, with the new direction, both are evidently still trying to find a groove. Sure, this EP's often a disjointed mess and Denzel still can't seem to resist churning out some corny bars here and there, but I think the verdict's clear: This a banger.

FAV TRACKS: Take_it_Back_v2, 'Cosmic'.m4a, Lay_Up.m4a, DIET_

LEAST FAV TRACK: So.Incredible.pkg
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