Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats - UNLOCKED
Feb 7, 2020 (updated Apr 21, 2020)
74
DAMN THE RULES.

Pairing Denzel Curry with Kenny Beats makes sense. On paper, they are two of the most consistent and prolific artists in contemporary hip-hop, their continuous flow of production rarely resulting in a decline in quality. Their sounds are distinct and their creative appetite is high. In practice, with the release of their first collaborative project, "UNLOCKED", they are a supercharged duo brimming with life and a spirit of sharing.

Fuck me, but Denzel is truly "unlocked" from song to song on this project. His energy overflows: screams and hard knocks melt into titanium bars. Denzel's delivery on tracks like "Take_it_Back_v2" or "DIET_" wiped out Kenny's exceptional and glorious production. The album, produced in only 72 hours, is explosive. Neither Kenny nor Zel make a misstep. The inequality of a hasty collaboration is untraceable. Instead, we have eight outstanding musical sketches, each celebrating the volatile art of rap music. "Take_it_Back_v2" is transformed and distorted. "'Cosmic.m4a'" induces a shattering nod. Denzel's roaring delivery leaves an indelible mark on our chests. "'Pyro (leak 2019)'" advances with destructive force. The fragmented feeling of the project gives way to a sense of devastation. "UNLOCKED" takes place in a city in ruins, the skyscrapers decimated by Denzel's rabid bars and Kenny's groovy beats. We imagine them jumping from song to song like super heroes, furiously creating something bigger than they could ever have imagined.

The short time it took the duo to create "UNLOCKED" is a testament to Denzel and Kenny's natural creative frenzy. The fact that the time limit of 72 hours is an attractive pressure on the artists to complete a project. "UNLOCKED" is an instinctive exercise in gut and viscera. Sometimes following your instincts is the best way to make music.
"UNLOCKED" succeeds because it is a burst of sounds, shapes, textures and Hip-Hop from two of the brightest in the game. "UNLOCKED" succeeds because it doesn't take itself too seriously. From its birth to its deployment, Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats have put process ahead of appearance. We admire the duo for their creative prowess, but we should admire them for their willingness to break the boundaries of creativity.

The creative frenzy resulting from "UNLOCKED" is exciting to see. There may be rules in this business: how to prepare a project, how to publish it, how to market it, but... damn the rules!

Denzel and Kenny are too good for your rules.

Best tracks: "Take_it_Back_v2", "Lay_Up.m4a", "Pyro (Leak 2019)", "DIET_", "So.Incredible.pkg", '"Cosmic'.m4a".

Worst track: "Track 01"
WhatTheFunk's Tags
2 Comments
Feb 9, 2020
Please elaborate on the Madvillainy and Unlocked comparison, literally the only elements the both of them share could be the structure of the songs, and how the runtime of each of the tracks are under 3 minutes. But other than that, I don't see the similarities, these are very different albums. Please elaborate.
Feb 9, 2020
@KIDWITHGUNs This comparison was not totally serious, it is obvious that if a producer and a rapper gell well together on a project, it doesn't mean Madvillainy. But although the two albums are sonically radically different, there are some remarkable links: the first song on both Unlocked and Madvillainy build up the rapper as being evil, the Madvillainy one as the greatest villain and Unlocked as mentally deranged. Both album covers have a super villain feel. There's vocal samples throughout emphasizing how mentally deranged Denzel is, similar to what is done in Madvillainy. Finally, it's true that the comparison is not obvious but it's sure that Kenny and Zel were inspired (a little bit) by DOOM on this project (pitched vocals, approached themes, dark atmosphere).
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