Saturday, January 19th, 2019

Kendrick Lamar Has Done It Again

Posted on March 07, 2016 in Album Reviews, Arts & Culture
By USM Free Press


By Bradford Spurr/Free Press Staff

Kendrick Lamar has done it again. He is not the rapper we want, but rather the rapper we deserve. With his short eight track orchestration of untitled cuts and songs from the To Pimp A Butterfly cutting room floor this peak behind the curtain of the creative process can show us all that an album is so much more than the 10 tracks that get mastered and produced in the end.

There have been numerous sightings of these untitled songs across many the late night and awards show.The really bizarre thing is that for every live performance, Kendrick Lamar insists on premiering or featuring an untitled track along with these seminal rap classics like “Alright” and “How Much Does a Dollar Cost.”

The best track is probably the third, which was premiered one of the last Colbert Report shows and it serves as a eccentric representation of this rapper who has become less of a performer and more of a cultural icon with each passing day. With a synthy, almost steel drum like beat “untitled 03 | 05.28.2013.” sees Kendrick Lamar work through several mindsets of different races, showing that we all have pieces of what make us who we are. “A peace of mind. That’s what the Asian said, I need a divine intervention, was his religion and I was surprised. Him believing in Buddha, me believing in God. Asked me what I am doing, he said “taking my time,” and later Kendrick Lamar explores what happens within the confines of the white race, primarily through his own voice and interpretation. “A piece of mines, that’s what the white man wanted when I rhyme. Telling me that he selling me just for $10.99. If I go platinum from rapping, I do the company fine.”

On the sixth track, “untitled 06 | 06.30.2014” has a surprising feature from Cee Lo Green, who has dissolved from the public eye, but the distinctive voice of the R&B/Hip-hop crooner add something indescribable to the first verse. “My mama told me that I was different the moment I was invented. Estranged baby, no I’m not ashamed. I recommend every inch of your lunatic ways. Praise the lord, you teach the kids how to be themselves and plenty more.”

The eighth song was debuted on Jimmy Fallon shortly after the new year. “untitled 08 | 09.06.2014” breaks down the millennial sadness that is collectively experienced by millions of “Gen Xers.” “Two tears in the bucket I cry with you but I could never lie with you. I could never afford not to afford, I could never put my plans to the side with you. I could never see a red light like a deer with a headlight, I freeze up when I re-up.”

You should save “untitled 07 | 2014-2016” to be the final song you listen to. The three part depth charge of emotional exploration resonates at some level with everyone. Somewhere around the second part Kendrick raps that “I feel like Pacino in Godfather, I’m charged. Our father who art in Heaven, Kendrick at large. Came in the game with a plan of beatin’ the odds. What an accomplishment, broken promises, kept my focus anonymous till I death with the consequence.” Most people are still talking about the incredible Grammy performance that sparked some controversy over some censored lines. While good kid, m.A.A.d city lit the world on fire, To Pimp A Butterfly set it to a low simmer. untitled unmastered is more like the friend who hands you an advil and a glass of water in the morning and then talks to you about the meaning of life. Kendrick Lamar is doing more to combat societal norms than any other celebrity (maybe except Bono and his rose-colored glasses). If Kanye West is a representation of our ego, then Kendrick Lamar is the living embodiment of the soul. Now while his last album is rough and messy around the edges it does not detract from the message. We are all beautiful, no matter our circumstances.


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