Album Review: Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats - UNLOCKED & UNLOCKED 1.5
Written By: Mike Double G
Original Track List
Grade = 100% or 5 ⭐️
Pyro (leak 2019) ✅
‘ Cosmic ‘ . m4a ✅
New Remixed Track List
Grade = 100% or 5 ⭐️
So.Incredible.pkg (Robert Glasper Version) [Denzel Curry, Kenny Beats, & Smino Feat. Robert Glasper] ✅
Track07 (Georgia Anna Muldrow Version) [Feat. Ario Parks]
‘Cosmic‘.m4a (The Alchemist Version) [Feat. Joey Bada$$] ⭐️
Take_it_Back_v2 (Charlie Heat Version) ✅
Pyro (Sango Leak) [Feat. Kenny Mason] ✅
Lay_Up.m4a (Jay Versace Version) ⭐️
DIET_ 1.5 (Feat. Benny the Butcher) ⭐️
Take_it_Back_v2 (GODMODE 950 Version)
Last February Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats released UNLOCKED. Coming in at only 18 minutes many understandably considered this an EP but it was actually a studio album. When asked if there was to be a single to the project Denzel Curry said, "There’s no singles, like, the project is a single.” While apple music separates the project into 8 different tracks it definitely feels like one song all together as each track flows perfectly into the next.
Denzel Curry is one of the best young rappers in the game while Kenny Beats is one of the best producers. The beats are some of Kenny's best while Denzel is super lyrical the whole project. While Denzel has some of his best rhymes it is not the kind of “rapidly rap” that would put the younger rappers to sleep. Denzel style is widely considered as “Punk Rap”. While he is a great rapper he also experiments with rock music to keep his sound original and fresh. This is the new sound of Florida. Other Florida artist such as the late XXXTENTACION and Ski Mask the Slump God have had success with this hybrid sound.
The whole theme behind this project was exceptional. Denzel and Kenny made a short film/music video for the entire project. In the film they are morphed into video games characters on a older gaming console (possibly Sega Genesis or the first Nintendo). In the video they complete “levels” to the game to “Unlock” each track. Also the tracks are styled the same way songs would look on an illegal downloading software like Limewire. Many music sharers would characterize the title of the songs differently to get around certain laws allowing listeners to download the music. An example of this would be the track Take_it_Back_v2.
The original project did so well they dropped a remastered version 13 months later titled UNLOCKED 1.5 With a running time of 22 minutes it was 4 minutes longer than the original version. The 1.5 version included some great features. We see guest appearances from both big name rappers and producers. My favorite track on the 1.5 version was ‘Cosmic’.m4a” which was The Alchemist version of the song featuring Brooklyn rapper Joey Bada$$. Denzel Curry and Joey Bada$$ on The Alchemist beat is not something you hear every day. Benny the Butcher also had a strong verse on the track DIET_1.5 which was already a fan favorite from the original version.
Living in a time when music has a very short shelf life this was a great way to keep this unique project fresh. At just 22 minutes this is short for an album. With the being said, when grading this project it can’t be just about the music alone. You have to watch the short film for the project, notice the artwork, and understand the concept to fully appreciate the album. Other than the length, Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats hit this one on the head. Denzel is exceptional on all 6 tracks he raps on while the two instrumental tracks by Kenny are exciting enough to not need lyrics. The instrumental tracks reminded me of Joe Hahn on a Linkin Park album Cure for the Itch is the first track that comes to mind.
The main negative is the short length. I would have also liked to hear one or two more guest verses on the 1.5 version. The last thing is I wish they didn’t remake the “Take_it_Back_v2” twice. Since the GODMODE 950 version was more of a instrumental I would have liked to see them mix the two. I was looking for at least one new Denzel & Kenny track. Other than that this remaster was a success. Like most projects, the original was slightly better. However, whether you Are listening to the original “UNLOCKED” or the new “UNLOCKED 1.5” they are both 5 ⭐️ projects. Especially if your grading these projects as an EP rather than a full studio album.
Download: UNLOCKED 1.5