On UNLOCKED, two of hip-hop’s most consistent and creative artists join forces for a short effort that’s packed with lo-fi beats and hard-hitting lyrical content.
Sounding more like a mixtape than a full-blown album, Producer Kenny Beats creates a soundscape equal parts Madvillain and The Avalanches, including all the gritty scratches and glitches of a backyard, vinyl-only DJ set. UNLOCKED finds Curry doing what he does best, unleashing a flurry of bright, versatile bars with ferocity, snarling through violent disses lofty boasts.
Perhaps the most stand-out feature of UNLOCKED is how Kenny Beats effortlessly remixes lines from other songs into beat tracks, as heard between “Track 01” and “Track07”. Here, Kenny creates new hooks from lines Denzel just laid down on a previous track of the same record. This also holds true for “Lay Up” as Denzel’s signature aggressive lyrics are chopped and screwed, then smoothy progress into a high-pitched version of the same hook.
UNLOCKED‘s best features are its brevity and simplicity, clocking in at 17-minutes, the tracks drop in, hit hard, and end without exaggeration or overproduction.