Tag: Kendrick Lamar

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Music Review: Kendrick Lamar’s ‘DAMN.’

With the power and gusto of so many timeless rap artists, but the existential lyricism of new wave hip hop, Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. stomps its way into the charts, and does so for good reason.

The album opens with a skit, BLOOD. in which Lamar quite clearly signposts the ideas he intends to challenge throughout the album. The skit shows that taking the right path often doesn’t lead to the right outcome, ending with a gunshot. Then the haunting harmonics of producer Bēkon which opened the song re-enter questioning “is it wickedness?” setting up for the whole album the biblical struggle between weakness, and wickedness. Read more …


Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered Review

It’s strange to think of an 80 minute, 16-track album as cohesive. But as dense and sprawling as it was, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly is a powerful artistic and political statement that flows organically from the Boris Gardner sample that opens it to the interview with Tupac from beyond the grave that closes it.

So it’s equally strange to think that it didn’t emerge fully formed, or even that Kendrick had anything left to release, and yet here we are less than a year later with untitled unmastered, 35 minutes of unreleased music from the studio sessions that, for one reason or another, were kept off the album; and although they lack the reverence or consistency of Pimp, they are just as passionate, kaleidoscopic and impressive.

Beyond deadlines and sample clearances, it’s clear why most of these songs didn’t make the album. Pimp undoubtedly went to some angry and tragic places, but even at its bleakest it shone a light in dark corners, while a lot of untitled sounds like it lurks in those corners. This is probably in part due to their lack of polish, but songs like “untitled 02” and “untitled 07 ” – the latter of which was, unbelievably, co-produced by Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys’ 5-year-old son Egypt – have a menace to them that would have sounded out of place.

This isn’t to say that these songs are lesser than their album counterparts; the production, Kendrick’s flow and the variety of the musical and lyrical ideas on display here could go toe-to-toe with anything from Pimp and ​”untitled 06″, with its Bossa Nova rhythm, Ali Shaheed Muhammad production and Cee-Lo feature, could easily be a single.

As a matter of fact, in one way untitled is a little more satisfying than Pimp because it lets the listener in on what went into making it. On Pimp Kendrick gave so much of himself, but everything was so tight and considered that it’s practically untouchable. On untitled you can hear him working out new ideas and letting his creativity go on wild tangents, whether through the demo-like feel or the recordings of him literally working through a song. “untitled 02” ends with Kendrick getting ready to do a take and “untitled 07” ends with a lo-fi recording of him jamming on “untitled 04” with his producer Taz and what sounds like Thundercat on bass. It’s weird but gratifying to pull the curtain back a little and hear him mess around and throw ideas at the wall, and it gives untitled an intimacy that Pimp never really betrays.

Top Dawg Entertainment co-president Terrance “Punch” Henderson, who also guests on “untitled 05”, recently talked about untitled being partly inspired by Prince’s pseudo-unreleased Black Album – he and Kendrick allegedly met up during recording sessions for Pimp – and the album does have similar qualities to a Prince bootleg. The songs showcase an artist so on top of his game that he can throw out an album’s worth of songs that didn’t belong on a more “polished” project but nonetheless stand proud on their own merits. The songs also seem familiar but strange enough to hint at some kind of alternate-universe version of the album whose sessions spawned them, giving fans the same indescribable feeling Prince fans get from listening to early configurations of Purple Rain or entirely abandoned albums like Dream Factory.

But beyond stylistic similarities, there’s an ideological underpinning to the music Kendrick has been making recently that also owes a lot to His Purple Badness. Since his beginnings in the 70’s Prince has made a career out of refusing to be labeled and following the beat of his own drum, for 5 years literally living with no name. Meanwhile, with the sheer breadth of styles and ideas he’s brought to the table in what we’ve heard from him over the past year it looks like Kendrick is also resolved not to live in anyone’s shadow – not even his own – but to do anything and everything he wants to do. It turns out that untitled unmastered applies just as much to him as it does his music.


New Kendrick Lamar album leaked on Spotify

A new album by Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar has emerged unannounced on Spotify this week. The leak follows an announcement by Top Dawg Entertainment head Anthony Tiffith that the label would drop a new album this week.

The album, entitled untitled unmastered, is not yet available to stream, but the tracklisting as it appears on Spotify is as follows:

01 “untitled 01 08.19.2014″
02 “untitled 02 06.23.2014″
03 “untitled 03 05.28.2013″
04 “untitled 04 08.14.2014″
05 “untitled 05 09.21.2014″
06 “untitled 06 06.30.2014″
07 “untitled 07 2014 – 2016″
08 “untitled 08 09.06.2014″

The album is presumed to be a collection of Lamar’s “Untitled” series, a series of previously unreleased songs that the MC has been performing live on tour and in several televised appearances. The latest unveiling was at the 2016 Grammys, where K-Dot performed “Untitled 3” as a coda to his single “Alright”.

Lamar won five Grammys this year, including Best Rap Album for 2015’s landmark To Pimp a Butterfly and Best Rap Song for “Alright”.




Kendrick Lamar Track “King Kunta” Leaks


A new track from Compton MC Kendrick Lamar‘s upcoming album To Pimp a Butterfly has been leaked and is making the rounds across the internet. “King Kunta” is the third album track to drop and follows the official release of two singles, “The Blacker the Berry” and “i”.

The track features Kendrick dropping Afrocentric verses over a G-Funk instrumental, name-dropping Richard Pryor and Kunta Kinte (he also calls out ghostwriters in hip-hop at one point, a pretty ballsy move when Dr Dre is the executive producer of your album).

K Dot revealed the tracklist, title and artwork of the massively hyped album earlier this month, as well as a March 23 release date.

The track is available for streaming via Rap-UpTo Pimp a Butterfly is available for pre-order on iTunes.