Literally two seconds before I closed my eyes, something told me to check my phone one more time. So glad I did because the Twitterverse was ablaze with that rapper, Kendrick Lamar Interscope records (maybe) inadvertently, dropped his highly anticipated new album over a week early!
I’m self-admitted Kendrick stan, so sleep instantly became a memory as I frantically queued the album up on Spotify. I played the whole album start to finish, no shuffles or skips, and was relieved and excited at what they’ve created.
I’m still digesting the 16 tracks he unleashed on us, so there’s no way I could formulate enough coherent sentences to write a review. But here are nine quick thoughts about this album:
This album is dope. Anyone who doesn’t at least appreciate this effort doesn’t give a damn about hip hop or jazz or soul.
This is an all-star vocal effort. He’s got everyone from SZA, Lalah Hathaway, Bilal and Anna Wise to royalty like George Clinton and Ronald Isley on this album. Bonus points for featuring talented rapper (who happens to be a woman), Rapsody, on “Comlplexion (A Zulu Love).”
Kendrick is one of the best artist we have still doing concept albums. From his two mixtapes, Overly Dedicated and Section.80, to his two major label releases, Good Kid M.A.A.D. City and, now, To Pimp a Butterfly Kendrick knows the art of storytelling.
This is an all-star musician/production effort. He’s got James Fauntelroy from Cocaine 80s, Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Kamasi Wasahington, Rahki, Terrace Martin, Pharrell Williams, Robert Glasper all working hard.
I LOVE the fact that Ambrose Akinmusire is on “Mortal Man.” He and Kendrick feel like kindred artistic spirits because of how they both use recent events to fuel their art.
“Hard Working Black Folks” might be the best name for a publishing company ever.
Kendrick’s conversation with Tupac at the end of “Mortal Man” sounds so eerily natural and contemporary.
I’m still a little salty that the amazing “Untitled” song he performed with Anna Wise, Bilal, Thundercat, and Terrace Martin on Colbert Report didn’t make the album.
No I haven’t deep dived into the lyrics yet, I’m too busy absorbing the beautiful soundscape….