“untitled unmastered” Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar

untitled umastered. Album Review

Tog Dawg Entertainment

Hip Hop, Jazz Rap

Released March 4, 2016

It looks like it’s going to be another year full of surprise releases. untitled unmastered. also dropped at the same time as Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz’s surprise release also. As expected, more buzz is surrounding Kendrick’s release, but be ready for surprises in music in 2016, surprises that don’t really pop up on this collection of tracks. untitled unmastered. is an enjoyable and solid experience just like any Kendrick project, but it doesn’t stand out among his other works…but I don’t think it’s supposed to.

We have very jazzy production all over this project, especially on tracks like “Untitled 05,” my personal favorite instrumental on the project. We also have introspective and unapologetic lyrics, typical of Kendrick anyway. We don’t really have anything we haven’t heard before from Mr. Duckworth. However, he’s made it clear that this is a sort of a “b-sides” collection from tracks that did not make it onto To Pimp A Butterfly. The songs are thematically not too divergent from each other, but they don’t really flow. I don’t feel like 08 is supposed to be a closer and 01 is supposed to kick things off. Everything is placed where it is, at least according to my thoughts, just because. The point is to just appease fans until the next big release.

With all of my theories out of the way, the music is more than satisfactory for a Kendrick release. 2 is a standout track as he plays so many different characters just by changing his flow and voice so much. This effect of changing his voice is as dramatic and effective as in “u,” providing a nice contrast between ideas and feelings. “1” is a nice brilliant play on book of revelations, but the outro just doesn’t make any sense in the context of this song. All of the songs, other than the weak outro that closes “7” and the too-short interlude, are pretty good. However, they’re not catchy in the slightest, which wouldn’t be a problem if it were a number of other rappers, but I expect the tracks to be somewhat catchy and more memorable after the first few listens. I think this draws from the lack of emphasis on choruses and beats that are more stagnant than what happened on To Pimp A Butterfly.

This is a super solid collection of B-sides, but don’t try to look at it as too much more than that.


FAV TRACKS: 1, 2, 5


SCORE: 8.0/10


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