Kendrick Lamar - Untitled, Unmastered (Review)

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Kendrick Lamar is undoubtedly the greatest rapper out there, his last album To Pimp A Butterfly was probably the most critically adored album in years. One thing about Kendrick is not only is he uninfluenced by other rappers but he is also marking his place in the rap hall of fame already, and he's only been widely known a few years. Kendrick is therefore, one of my favourite rappers out right now as well as you may well know from my 20-11 and 10-1 lists of my favourite songs from the Compton rapper. I think what has always astounded me most about Kendrick is his ability too match his flow to different styles of beats and his astounding lyricism. He, without a doubt, has the ability to become a Hip-Hop legend and it he is more than worthy. So, when it was announced a mere 24 hours before it's release I loaded up the performances from the Grammy's and the Colbert report and watched those genuinely brilliant live shows of 2 of the Untitled songs it got me excited to finally get a CDQ of those songs and the addition of 6 more, I was intrigued to see if he could match the levels of both Good Kid, Maad City and To Pimp A Butterfly.


This album starts off with arguably the weirdest skit ever, it's right up there with Biggies F*ck Me Interlude from Ready To Die, although this is 10 times more creepy because of the groaning voice and the aura around it. However, if you cut out this first part of Untitled 1 then you get a magnificent song where Kendrick is addressing God himself stating that he gave him To Pimp A Butterfly and he's been doing his best to serve him and spread the word but it isn't good enough. This has to be one of the most lyrically empowering rap songs of the year by an absolute mile, it's songs like these where I really start to consider the power that Kendrick has over the rap universe because he's blowing all the other rappers out the water lately, Untitled 2 is the song that was performed on the Colbert Report and it really is a fantastic song, Kendrick's tainted singing voice is something that shouldn't really work and should sound horrific but actually fits into the overall rawness of this album.


That is what makes this album so human and easy to listen to, because it's raw and everything has been toned down to match this whole idea of being 'unmastered'. I don't know if Kendrick has truly released 8 songs that are unmastered and were never really finished or whether it has been purposefully made to sound that way but nonetheless these songs sort of suit the way they are and i honestly wouldn't have them any other way because the laidback flows on this album really suit the beats that haven't been overprocessed or tainted by Swizz Beat shouting all over them (Seriously grinds on me). One thing I absolutely hate about this album is the constant chanting between songs of Pimp Pimp Hooray, it's honestly incredibly cringey, unneeded and doesn't fit in with the album at all. It's just there because it is. Untitled 4 is something that I dismissed on first listen because of the fact that "Head is the answer, Head is the future" was a lyric that I felt doesn't really suit Kendrick's style, especially as a chorus. Until on about the 4th or 5th listen of the song I realised that Kendrick used head as a double entendre, he's sort of mocking these other rappers with their minimal subject matter and constant talk of banging hoes, but Kendrick is saying that Knowledge is the answer.
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Untitled 7 is another noteable track because the part with the repetition of levitate really sounded magnificent to me and I'm not really sure why because at times it was boring and repetitive but others it sounded soulful. I really got the message of what Kendrick is pushing across here because he's saying push yourself closer to the heavens basically and work towards something, keep moving up. What I love and hate most about this album how slow it can be, sometimes it sort of just fades into background and the songs move into one big hybrid, but if you pick out individual songs and really listen to them it's a magnificent set of songs and to think that these may have been throwaways from To Pimp A Butterfly (The date's next to them seem a little fake to me) is simply astounding and it may not be on the levels of his previous three albums but it's damned near close.

7.5/10


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