By. Sam Fleming
Kendrick Lamar has taken over the hip-hop scene in the last few years, through releasing a string of critically and commercially acclaimed projects. He has transitioned from being a lyrical rapper from Compton, to a well-respected representative for the art of hip-hop in general. From meeting with Obama, to working with Kanye West, it is clear that Kendrick has earned himself an elite status that few have been able to achieve. What truly separates him from every other rapper is how he earned his respect. His honesty shines through his music, and is especially apparent on Untitled Unmastered. the latest collection of tracks that he has shared with the world.
Untitled Unmastered. is far from Kendrick Lamar’s flashiest album. There’s a darkness that sits at this album’s core. It’s doesn’t have the intense backstory of Good Kid M.a.a.d City, or the potent political message of To Pimp a Butterfly, but this album showcases more than any other what makes Kendrick Lamar’s music so powerful. Without any overarching concept to this project, we get a collection of tracks where Kendrick shows off his lyrical and vocal ability. He shows the incredible amount of control that he has over his voice and the outcome of his music. His flows seem effortless and natural, like on “Untitled 02” where he casually mutters the second verse. Kendrick Lamar doesn’t tell you how to feel through his music, instead he paints a picture through his lyrics and lets you make up your own mind.
Throughout the project, Kendrick alternates between successful gloating, and fearful self deprecation. On “Untitled 01” he talks to god, saying, “Some of us never did wrong but still went to hell/Geez Louise, I thought you said that I excel.” This sets the tone for the entire project. It’s a glimpse into Kendrick’s life, his conversations, his deep insecurities, and his creative process. He has created comfortable unpredictability. Kendrick is still learning about himself, and he learns through his music. What makes Untitled Unmastered. so powerful, along with any other Kendrick project, is that we get to learn about the world through his eyes, right along side him.