Denzel Curry Unlocked 1.5

Potrait of upcoming artist Denzel Curry

Penn State Photographer

Denzel Curry hot uprising rapper from Southern Califronia

Aidan Dandridge, Staff Writer

Surprise release: Denzel Curry, Kenny Beats’ Unlocked 1.5

Staff Writer Aidan Dandridge 


In an era of music where every artist is out from themselves, Denzel Rae Curry is a master collaborator helping others climb the ranks by focusing on making great music instead of popularity and money. Curry recently released a back to back album with Kenny Beats titled Unlocked 1.5 with features from Smino, Joey Bada$$ and many other underground artists that he wants to spotlight so they can earn some recognition.


On his way to the top Denzel has been featured in songs that put him on the map some examples are his hit single “Ultimate” blew up in the mid 2010s all throughout meme culture and other pop culture. Examples of famous features include his Feature in “The Glory” by Flatbush ZOMBiES in 2018 and recently last year he was featured in the song “Sangria” by another upcoming rapper that has made it to the top by the name of $not.


Unlocked 1.5 dropped on March 5, 2021 after the first album titled Unlocked was released early last year on February 7, 2020. The first album gained critical attention, but Unlocked 1.5 was largely ignored. The two releases are clearly connected in terms of theme, but there aren’t many interviews with Curry that address the inspiration for this follow-up. But, there are a few reviews and music videos that vaguely explain it. 


So, let’s talk about the theme. It can’t be ignored, because it’s, well, pretty weird. A snippet from the review website tells us that Unlocked 1.5 is about Denzel Curry and producer Kenny Beats getting sucked into a neverending cyberspace and two evil doppelgangers (an evil version of a person) escaping and roaming about freely in the real world. 


Based on this, the story is about alter-egos, bad ones, taking over whether we like it or not. This release is clearly meant to compliment Unlocked, but it’s far stranger and more imaginative. This might make the content less relatable to some listeners, but anyone who appreciates a little humor and narrative in their music will find it engaging.


The short run time is also a shortcoming. Although Unlocked 1.5 is clearly intended as an addendum album created by an unquestionably legitimate artist, it could’ve been a bit longer considering the number of songs and featured artists on the project. With a run time of around 23 minutes it could work as a good time killer but in terms of a lay back type vibe it would’ve been better with more development. More time or tracks would have also given listeners a better chance to appreciate some of the new talent featured here.


 But when it comes to the sheer musicality of 1.5, that’s where the fun starts. I would say listen to the album while you’re chilling or doing something calm. Now keep in mind it is rap, contains some language and it’s short, but at the same time, it packs a punch. It’s an eclectic, multi-layered, expertly mixed cosmic journey. The amount of variety and diversity the featured artists bring to this project makes it even more distinctive. I personally recommend listening to “Diet_1.5” and “Track07”, but there’s something to love about this whole album even if it’s a little rough around the edges. 


I would suggest listening to the prior album Unlocked first,  because it sets the tone for all of 1.5 source concepts and songs. Unlocked 1.5 is more of a remix album with extra features. So if you’re not into remixed songs listen to Unlocked, then give Unlocked 1.5 a try.


Even if you don’t completely connect with these two albums, take the time to listen to some of Curry’s other work. He’s prolific and has collaborated with some of the best underground artists in existence. He’s released at least one album every year since 2015. That itself should show both his dedication to music as well as explain the dedication of his fanbase. 


Some additional albums I’d recommend are “TA13OO” released in 2018 and “ZUU” released in 2019. Both of these albums received some of the best critical and fan reviews. Both of these albums are good picks if you want to ease into Curry’s unique style and sound. 


Overall, 1.5 is probably a better option for existing Denzel Curry fans. However, I definitely recommend that, even if you don’t like 1.5, you give some of his other albums a test listen before making up your mind before making up your mind about him as an artist.