Kendrick Lamar is here to touch Souls
Kendrick Lamar dropped his new album DAMN on Friday April 14th. My life hasn’t been the same since April 13th. I dunno what other people are thinking about this album, but I’m digging it. It’s always exciting to see an artist with so much potential just keep moving his way down the rabbit hole of life. Since I first stumbled upon K Dot years ago when he dropped Overly Dedicated, I’ve been a fan.
He doesn’t back down when he writes. Section 80 dropped after and it started to become a reality. Kendrick Lamar had arrived. From this point forward, each move this man has made has been an ascension towards greatness.
Like a fresh breeze coming through a dusty old worn down damn near busted out recording studio. Light hits the tape and life starts to shake off the cobwebs of old classics, the voices of Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye start to echo the halls once again. A new voice emerged with an edge that waxed poetic naturally and still manages to capture the essence of the new sound while pushing music further.
The Good Kid Moves the Crowd
Finally the artist formerly known as K Dot has passed through the underground and touched down on the main stage. The team behind him is growing in power and influence. Tickets are selling for his shows faster than ever…he’s about to blow. Just a little further. If he holds on and continues to press, he will get to the top. And then it happens. Good Kid, m.A.A.d City…
The young King has stepped into the spotlight. An album that is a exercise in Kendrick Lamar’s prowess and lyric precision. He flex’s all over Good kid, m.A.A.d. City. When the album hadn’t yet dropped, there was rumors that Lady Gaga would be on the album, but when the release came, she was nowhere to be seen.
Instead of Lady Gaga singing the hook to Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe, Kendrick took the reigns for the final cut, and the difference is staggering. And it shows the direction and mindset and confidence of the young artist. He had a giant on his album, but dropped the vocals to make way for a more honest approach to the record.
Pimp ass Butterfly
To Pimp A Butterfly…has there been anything made with so much patience and concentration? You could hear it in every note, every word that was written. Legend has it, there are three different versions of the album. He made something like sixty songs for the album. He had started working on it once m.A.A.d city had wrapped.
The cohesion of the album was like nothing anyone had heard from an artist is such a long time. We’re talking since Songs in the Key of Life, Only Built For Cuban Linx, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, and Tommy, there hasn’t been anything like what this developing leader of the new school dropped.
He dropped bomb after bomb with To Pimp A Butterfly. He didn’t back down…not once. He made us all think a little deeper when we pressed play from that point forward. A new gold standard had arisen and who could catch up with such a comet.
The project itself was different from his previous work. The way he wrote the album felt more like a novel than a hip hop record. It wasn’t about bars and flipping lines to break the necks of hip hop heads worldwide, this was written with a purpose, a good friend and collaborator of mine MUTT said that he can’t recite a single bar on the album, but if you take one word out of any of the songs, it would corrupt the entire project. And it’s true, it feels like one long piece, like Jack Karouac’s On The Road or something. I imagine Kendrick Lamar writing the album using a giant scroll to capture the fluidity of To Pimp A Butterfly.
After Butterfly he quietly dropped another smaller less assuming project in Untitled Unmastered. At eight tracks, it comes off as a very free form project. It still brought the funk and felt like a closing statement to Butterfly. He popped up on late night shows and performed these songs randomly and because they didn’t have names, many assumed we would never be able to hold them in our hands, but then he dropped Untitled Unmastered and we all could breath once more.
Then he went quiet. You’d hear him pop up on other peoples albums and make appearances on one offs here and there, but he was still riding high off the buzz from Butterfly and Untitled. And we waited. Still living in the world that he had previously created for us.
The Age of DAMN
Then once again out of the middle of blackness and quiet emerged the next age of Kendrick Lamar. DAMN has arrived and the world is going nuts. Hip Hop heads everywhere are drowning themselves in new K Dot bars. With DAMN we get a new flavor, a new sound, and a new tempo from Kung Fu Kenny.
DAMN has the feel of the collision of the new school and the old school. Kendrick moves along more drugged out hazy stylings of production. Minimalist in sound but deeply rooted in old school skills. Kid Capri is on the record sounding off. The scratches on the album particularly stand out for me. It keeps me alive with love for hip hop music and the hope that there are yet much more to be heard from in my opinion one of the greatest rappers alive.