It’s been a while since we had an album rollout from Denzel Curry. However, it doesn’t mean he was slouching around in 2020 as he released a couple of loosie tracks and EPs here and there, one being 13LOOD 1N + 13LOOD OUT MIXX and the latter being a part of this review, Unlocked alongside producer Kenny Beats. It ended up being a short but exhilarating EP full of bangers along with a long-form animated music video, easily making my Best of List in 2020. Now a year later, the duo is back, but this time, they’re making a remix album.
Yes, I’m covering a remix project of an EP from last year, but to be honest, I was very interested to see how this turned out. I know remixes can often be either hit or miss with some people, but I’m willing to hear how different it’ll be. The two singles released so far got me on board, and the lineup of guest producers and features does please me a bit.
In fact, after listening to this like 5-6 times, I’m liking this more than the original Unlocked.
Yeah, that’s the case here. I was immediately into this project from the first remix track, “So.Incredible.pkg,” with Robert Glasper providing the production. I was floored by the jazzy flourishes and the backup vocals on that new beat, even if the feature verse from Smino is OK at best (Also, I didn’t know until now that they’re cousins). “Track07” has a ’70s psychedelic spin courtesy of Georgia Anne Muldrow, and it’s worth noting that Denzel Curry really didn’t have any verses on the original (mainly the pitched vocals from “So.Incredible.pkg”), and Arlo Parks is added into the remainder of the track.
Then there’s “Cosmic.m4a” which has The Alchemist on production, and it has this grimy old-school Toonami promo sound, fitting perfectly within that aesthetic, and Joey BadA$$ deserved solid bars in his verse.
Gun cocked, make a nigga lung stop
Got my middle finger to the ceiling, screaming, “Fuck cops”
Trigger finger start itching when the fun stop
Fiends at the bus stop, eyes looking bloodshot
Ugh, stop your bloodclaat crying
They killed my dawg, now everybody’s dyin’
Another personal highlight on this EP is the Jay Versace version of “Lay_Up.M4A” as it has that sampled, slowed-down vibe you often get in most of Versace’s production catalog and man, this hits hard as hell in 2 minutes. We also get two versions of “Take_It_Back_v2” with the first version being from Charlie Heat who provides a 90s street-hop vibe, and the latter one being a remix from GODMODE950/GAME666 which fits in the drum ‘n bass territory with the warbling effects and futuristic-tinged production.
While “DIET_1.5” may not have a new beat behind it (the only one that remains in Kenny Beats’ hands), there is an added guest feature from none other than Benny the Butcher, bringing a tight 16 bars to the track. Of course “Pyro,” one of my favorite tracks off the original EP, is remixed here with a beat from Sango and a new verse from Kenny Mason. and points to him with a decent verse on here as well.
All these racks in the ceiling got rappers back in they feelings
Treat the game like Trump voters did the Capitol building (Hahahaha)
In a 600 Maybach, the only passenger in it
Ain’t got no cash for the dealer if don’t no stashes come in it (Huh)
(Pyro) – Kenny Mason verse:
Big angel in the projects, the greatest prospect
Roughin’ mangy, but I’m God’s pet, nothin’ far-fetched
Seatin’ four-deep in the 404, yep
Forties a four on four, up
Homie’s a ho’, this home up
Four feet and swore he grown up
Patrol the whole three with no leash on us
My little woadie, go Broly on anyone that show up
All-in-all, this has been a fascinating project from top to bottom with the different spins on the production and the added verses from our guests. I already enjoyed the first Unlocked project very much, but this elevates my enjoyment higher than ever, being a project where the remixes elevate the original tracks. It’s definitely worth checking out.
FINAL VERDICT: Buy It. You have unlocked hidden material that is fire. But also, get the original version if you haven’t already.
UNLOCKED 1.5 is on PH Recordings/Loma VIsta Recordings (Concord). It is available on digital download and streaming services. It is also available on cassette via his BANDCAMP.