Denzel Curry and Producer Kenny Beats teamed up back in February of 2020 to create his album, UNLOCKED. However, Curry and Kenny weren’t just creating eclectic beats and spitting bars as hard as steel – they were world making, creating the universe of what would be the narrative for UNLOCKED.
Curry and Kenny later would take the sonic world of UNLOCKED and translate it into a short film. They were both re-imagined as clay, cartoon-like figures and each track off of the album acts as another scene – or rather another missing file that they either need to unlock or retrieve.
Throughout the entire premise of the album, Curry and Kenny are partners in crime. They are always facing another enemy, always on the run with an imminent sense of danger following them like a rain cloud.
Chased by monsters and ghouls – in the short film they both are encountering the more stereotypical versions of “the enemy.” Curry and Kenny just released a remix of the track, “‘Cosmic’.m4a,” off the album, featuring an added verse from Joey Bada$$.
In this remix of the track, both Bada$$ and Curry address directly the demons and monsters of each of their worlds – each wrestling with a real life threat that is plaguing their community and America as a whole, racism.
Curry starts “‘Cosmic’.m4a (The Alchemist Version)” off by rapping about the drug epidemic that he sees specifically targeting the black community – and even more specifically, the rap community.
He spits, “Meet us at the trap spot, so you can be an astronaut. This will be the biggest leap that you ever hop. It seems n***** are fly and the junkies are high. And in my line of work that goes side by side.”
This idea of these two worlds co-existing and yet clashing says so much about the state of our country right now in all its polarity. Bada$$ comes in with his verse, rapping about gang violence and police brutality – both involving the same weapon, yet used with such vastly different connotations, different intentions, different circumstances – like two separate universes.
Bada$$ spits, “Gun cocked, make a n**** lung stop. Got my middle finger to the ceilin’, screaming, Fuck Cops. Trigger finger start itchin’ when the fun stop.”
Both Curry and Bada$$ seem to effortlessly drop symbolism and imagery that mirror the opposite perspective that they are coming from.
Bada$$ uses the color red in a line to allude to a drug addict’s bloodshot eyes – while in the next line it represents blood pouring from an innocent black man who was shot by the police. Red doesn’t look the same from every angle, another’s lens.
Police are always on the hunt for colors: black, brown, and then red. As a result of this, the black community knows blood intimately. It may crept into their eyes – into their streets, families, and homes.
Kenny completely altered and transformed the original beat to be much more techno and galactic as opposed to its original aggressive snare, hip-hop beat. He implements some piano keys which make the instrumentation much more soft and eerie. Kenny also added old synthesizers to replicate the sound of what we imagine aliens to sound like while conversing with one another.
Overall, this remix does right by the original track by incorporating another layer of the world that was previously constructed, not just tearing it completely down. Stream, “‘Cosmic’.m4a ( The Alchemist Version)” below!