Album Review: Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats – UNLOCKED

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Artist: Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats

Album: UNLOCKED

Genre: Hip Hop

Label: PH Recordings

Rating: 7/10

Some rappers and producers just work very well together. You’ve got Murs and 9th Wonder, Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, Killer Mike and El-P, the list goes on and on of matches made in Hip Hop Heaven. Now we can add Denzel Curry and Kenny Beats to that list. Being two well respected artists in contemporary Hip Hop, artists that are about the culture as opposed to exploiting the genre for a quick buck and 15 minutes, it’s no surprise that the two linked up. However, it is a surprise that the two dropped their collaborative album so out of the blue, but their album UNLOCKED is here and it is what you’d probably expect it to be, bars on top of bars over killer beats. This album finds the two having the time of their lives with Kenny Beats providing experimental Boom Bap flavored beats that wouldn’t have sounded out of place backing someone signed to “Definitive Jux” back in the early 2000’s, and Denzel completely flexing his rhyming and free-styling ability while dropping his usual pop culture references, clever wordplay, and odes to his Hop Hop forefathers. On one song he’ll channel DMX, (DIET_) and on another he’ll reference CeeLo Green and Goodie Mob (Pyro leak 2019.) This is the work of two Hip Hop scholars having fun and not caring about a grandiose concept. In the grand scheme of things this album may seem disposable or inessential to some, and that’s completely understandable, it is completely obvious this album was made in 24 hours, but I don’t think the two were shooting for a groundbreaking effort. It was a fun jam session that just so happened to flow cohesively enough to be an album, but if there’s anything we can take from this album besides the fact that Denzel Curry and Kenny beats make that fire is that if the two get together again and take time to fully construct fully fleshed out songs with more direction, then they are a force to be reckoned with. Something tells me this isn’t the last we’ll hear from the duo.

Written By: Steven Sandoval

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