On disc after disc, Denzel Curry has shown an astonishing versatility. Last year, while on the one hand the Florida rapper paid homage to old school Miami hip hop on the excellent album Zuu, on the other, he amazed rock fans with a heartfelt cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls on Parade”. No matter what project he tackles, he always does it with the same fervour.
This is still the case on Unlocked, an 18-minute mini-album created in collaboration with DJ Kenny Beats, another creator whose versatility is no longer in question. Kenny Beats has created a musical universe tailor-made for Curry, one that carries the words he spits like a barrage of punches. The collage of samples concocted by Beats is as stunning as it is imaginative, evoking J Dilla, RZA, El-P, MF Doom, and Madlib.
Curry spares no resources in responding to this fireworks display. He raps with an impetuosity that’s in no way diminished by the tinkering effects applied to his voice from time to time. Happily, he doesn’t forget to salute the figures of DMX and Ol’ Dirty Bastard in passing, by imitating their phrasing. At 25 years old, Denzel Curry is no longer a rising star, he’s already shining brightly.