Legends aren't born overnight. Kendrick Lamar has become the face of everything people love about hip-hop, and he's not taken it to stride. His music is powerful, full of slamming statements like no other rappers can quite emulate, this year's DAMN. being widely acclaimed as one of 2017's best albums. Lamar's music is founded off of oppression, and it's taken a lot of courage and knowledge for him to come so far. He had to start somewhere, though. Kendrick Lamar began hitting hard in Section.80, his first record where he began speaking out against society.
Given that it was Lamar's first effort, there was a level of safety employed on the record. There are some conventional, poppier tracks on Section.80 that seem to add more of an approachable aspect to the music so that a wider audience could be approached. Kendrick did not sacrifice his own style on these tracks, though. 'Tammy's Song (Her Evils)' is one example, a song with a subject Lamar isn't really known for. It's a song about relationships, though Kendrick finds himself being involved in a betrayal. The beat has an almost 8-bit sound to it, and the hooks are pretty upfront. 'No Make-Up (Her Vice)' has a very sweet and melodic hook delivered by Colin Munroe, a chiller beat and a trade off between male and female vocals. It tells an interesting story just like the prior song, nonetheless.
Kendrick Lamar played with a lot of different styles on Section.80, still in search of his definitive sound. Jazzier sounds can be found in grittier tracks like 'Rigamortus,' while Kendrick continued on with the chill vibes from previous tracks in songs like 'Chapter Six.' His normal scathing bars can be found in tracks like 'Fuck Your Ethnicity' and above the aggressive beat of 'Ronald Reagan Era.' Lamar makes a familiar strong stance in 'Ab-Souls Outro,' where he (somewhat ironically) claims "I'm not the next pop star, I'm not the next socially aware rapper / I am a human mothafuckin' being, over dope ass instrumentation / Kendrick Lamar." Perhaps he has fallen into that role, but his messages are still just as important as ever.
Kendrick Lamar began hitting hard in Section.80, delivering his first studio album full of bold claims. He was clearly still feeling things out and hadn't fully come into his own yet, but the seeds were planted there and then. He evolved into one of hip-hop's most influential figures, and it all began here in Section.80.
Favorite Track: No Make-Up (Her Vice)
Least Favorite Track: Poe Man's Dreams (His Vice)
Rating: 76 / 100
Stream or buy Section.80 on Apple Music: