Photo from radio.com
By Rebecca Brooks
Kendrick Lamar is back once again, but this time with a Beyonce-esque surprise album that no one saw coming.
On March 4, the Compton rapper dropped “untitled unmastered,” a compilation album of unreleased demo tracks that he had worked on and recorded during the process of creating his critically acclaimed and successful third album “To Pimp A Butterfly.”
The album was a complete surprise to fans and the rest of the world, Lamar pulling what has become a very common move among artists in the industry ever since Beyonce released her unannounced self-titled visual album that broke the iTunes Store record for fastest selling album.
Like most of what Kendrick Lamar does, “untitled unmastered” is a work of art with a strong, highly visible concept behind it, usually revolving around his upbringing and racial issues.
He goes in even deeper with this album, trying to weave his way through the success of this album’s predecessor while also remaining true to his Compton roots, referencing it several times throughout the album with the continuous chant “pimp pimp, hooray.”
He addresses racial issues head on throughout the album, with it coming to a head on the eighth and final track, which is simply titled “untitled 08|09.06.2014.”
Lamar delves deep by looking at his success and financial struggles from a racial point of view, using the term “blue faces” to represent his feelings on how his race has affected his career along with many others.
Though the album is not necessarily a concept album, each track feels connected in some way. The constant message of race, the idea of Judgment Day and his anguish and frustration at the world, all of which he expresses through his effervescent rapping and rhyming skills, each subject flowing seamlessly together to create one concrete album that even his biggest critics have to praise.
This album is raw, real and everything any of us would expect from the modern day hip hop royalty that is Kendrick Lamar. He doesn’t hold back in the lyrics or in the music, knowing full well it may cause some controversy and yet not caring one bit about it.
There hasn’t been someone new to step onto the hip hop scene and truly make this kind of a global impact in a while, the last most likely coming out of the 90’s with Biggie and Tupac, people who Lamar himself looks up to and feels inspired by despite their untimely end.
Though those two rap figures may not be here to see what Lamar is bringing to the world today, I think most can agree that they would also be his fans after listening to his recent work.