There’s no hip-hop act out there that has a surprise factor quite like Kendrick Lamar. untitled unmastered. was dropped out of thin air onto Spotify a few weeks ago, and fans everywhere have been wallowing it up. It provides an inside look into some unfinished tracks Lamar has recorded over the last few years, all keying into his tendency to dish out some powerful messages.
As the title suggests, a lot of tracks have a strong unfinished vibe to them, as if their mixing and mastering stages hadn’t been reached yet. That being said, each track does have a cohesiveness to them that does play to that factor. ‘untitled 01′ starts off pretty unsettlingly, with someone speaking sensually into you air, but as soon as Kendrick kicks in, the track explodes into a fury of powerful lines and a thick instrumental. There are many epic lyrical moments like the fire of the first track; ‘untitled 03′ slams the music industry - which, is an interesting thing, since Kendrick’s powerful statement at the 2016 Grammy Awards seem to have helped him to spread the message, even considering the track was written three years ago - and ‘untitled 05′, a brutal track of multiple sections that covered abuse to success. ‘untitled 07′ is also a track of multiple parts, but is somewhat more left-field; perhaps it’s due to the fact that the song is dated as being written through 2014 to 2016 - that’s a lot of growth and different ideas to be had.
Where the album’s lyrics may not be the shining point of each track, the instrumentals take over. ‘untitled 02′ has an eerie instrumental, comparable to David Bowie’s creepy ‘Blackstar’ released in January - it definitely has the frantic saxophones in there that lend it to that comparison. These saxophones find their way into ‘untitled 05′, too, in the same manner, while tracks like ‘untitled 08′ use them in a funky manner. The thick beats are complimented by a thicker bassline in ‘untitled 04′, accompanied by piercing staccato guitars. ‘untitled 06′ brings Kendrick back to his underground vibes and classic sound.
Kendrick always has a way with formulating thought-provoking statements that are infectious, controversial, and agreeable all at once with every effort he has. Even this collection of unfinished songs have more substance than a great deal of hip-hop music. untitled unmastered. goes to show: Kendrick Lamar is the king of hip-hop.
Favorite Tracks: untitled 02, untitled 05
Least Favorite Tracks: untitled 04, untitled 6