Review: Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats experiment on “UNLOCKED”


Denzel Curry Unlocked review

Collin Maguire

Denzel Curry burst into the mainstream scene in 2015 with his hit track “Ultimate.” The Carol City, Florida, native then found himself at what some consider the summit of hip-hop following his 2018 release “TA13OO.” However, some still speculate if Zel is the real deal or not. 

Curry followed his 2018 successes with the release of “ZUU” in 2019. “ZUU” didn’t garner the same kind of response that “TA13OO” generated, but it was clear that he was still hungry. That’s when Connecticut-born producer Kenny Beats comes into the equation collaborating with Curry on the surprise release “UNLOCKED.” The “Woah, Kenny” producer has been on the incline since 2018, working with the likes of Vince Staples, JPEGMAFIA, Dominic Fike and many others. The album was recorded within a period of 24 hours.

The eight song project puts the best of both artists directly into the spotlight. Zel maintains his manic temperament, while delivering some clean, hard bars. Kenny Beats places some MF DOOM-esque sounds on the table and Denzel eats them right up. 

Kenny hops right in with “Track 01,” a cartoon-like tone setter for the rest of the project. This immediately leads into the hard-hitting “Take_it_Back_v2” bringing us our first “Woah, Kenny” of the album. This track is a prime example of Denzel’s unhinged nature, and of Kenny’s ability to harness his energy. The track is accompanied by an animated video inspired by the Japanese horror manga series “Uzumaki.” 

“Pyro (leak 2019)” is a one-versed flex by Curry. Curry makes the most out of a one minute and 22 second duration, by coming directly at the listener with some aggressively witty lines. In terms of lyricism, Curry stands out from a number of his peers. This track acts as the conclusion to side A of the album and it immediately leads into the more laid back track “DIET_,” to start off side B.

The track “So.incredible.pkg” acts as an assertion of dominance in the rap game by Curry. Kenny Beats once again laid out a perfectly groovy beat for Curry to rip up. 

“UNLOCKED” acts as the perfect platform for Curry to solidify his name, but it also acts as a statement for Kenny Beats. Kenny has quickly established himself among some of the top names in hip-hop. “UNLOCKED” is another addition to his steadily improving discography. 

This was the first collaborative project between the two artists, but it’s clear that their chemistry brought out the best of both parties.

It’s clear to listeners that Curry proves to be an elite artist with every release, but throughout the duration of this project Kenny Beats shined bright. Kenny Beats is proving to be one of the most exciting names in hip-hop.