Kendrick Lamar

Listen to Kendrick Lamar's New Album, 'untitled unmastered.' by Alex Young

Kendrick Lamar is a Compton, Calif. native, hip-hop artist, seven-time Grammy Award winner, and Afro-American male who bettered himself, his family, and his community in an environment disadvantaged from much of the U.S.A.

The neighborhood that raised Kendrick juxtaposes the disenfranchised African American experience some face daily. 

A music news channel on YouTube, Noisey, documented Kendrick speaking on the city, its lifestyles, and the rapper's longtime friends involved with street gangs, like Piru (Blood) and Crip. A segment in Part 5 of Noisey's "Bompton" series talks about how mass incarceration is used to hide problems such as poverty and institutionalized racism. The observation eliminates the classic, "get a job," or, "go to school," retorts from society because it acknowledges the situation many black people in Compton and America face. 

Through Kendrick's music and the light he sheds upon his home, it is necessary to understand that people sell drugs because they have to feed their families and kids, all the while supporting themselves. They never received proper guidance because one parent is in jail for life and the other was killed before the kid became a teenager. They never received a good education because low-income neighborhoods have school systems that do not receive a fair share of state and local funds. Lives like these are real, but not by choice. K.Dot shares the following:

It’s both physically and mentally. It’s not only caging us in the prisons, but up here [points to head] as well. Making us feel like there’s no hope so you will always be institutionalized to know that up here [points to head] your son is going to be thinking the same way, forever locked up. You get cats that say, ‘I’m in the hood. All I know is the hood, I wanna go back to the hood and do this and do that and be on the block.’ They do that because they got to do that. They don’t want to be doing what they doing. It’s not for the luxury, it’s the circumstances that be.

However, for some, Kendrick's songs about his unique experience, the on-going struggles, and self-improvement are entertainment, and for others his songs are inspiration and messages for fairness and equality.

Foremost, Kendrick's mission continues in the form of his newest album, which is called untitled unmastered. The project is eight tracks spanning from 2013 to 2016 and carries a tone of empowerment, insight, and celebration. He raps, "No more discriminatin' the poor," in "untitled 01 08.19.2014" and "The politicians always mislead the youth," in "untitled 07 2014 - 2016" (also produced by Egypt, Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys five-year-old son). iTunes editors call the latest album, "political and expressive currency."

In listening to Kendrick Lamar, one can understand that we all come from different circumstances, but different should should not mean disadvantaged. Hopefully, some may see aspects of life that are unequal for certain people when listening to Kendrick Lamar's untitled unmastered.

Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole Present Black Friday by Maxwell Young

"I like my raps extra prolific."


Black Friday, the infamous day after Thanksgiving reserved for America's superfluous shopping desires also had some musical sentiment behind it--free of charge--courtesy of Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole.

It has been hinted at that Lamar of Top Dawn Entertainment and Cole of Dreamville Records are cooking up a special collaborative project for the near future.  Yesterday's joint release of two tracks both entitled "Black Friday" reinforce this notion.  Their two singles "Alright" and "Tale of Two Citiez" from their respective albums To Pimp a Butterfly and 1400 Forest Hills Drive were given a new treatment, as the rappers swapped tracks.

In Kendrick's version of "Black Friday" over Cole's "Tale of Two Citiez" bump, he continues to separate himself apart from the rap industry that he asserts "been in shambles."  Without a hook or chorus, his fierce cadence across the four minute track is relentless as he discusses Kanye's bid for President, Trump's bafoonery, and dominant influence of rap music.  Towards the end of the song, listeners hear Kendrick's response to Billboard's mis-steps in their recent top ten rappers list , "Billbopard list me, Tupac damn/But number 9 makes sure he lives oh yeah." 

On the other hand, J. Cole takes K.Dot's jazzier "Alright" and foreshadows a greater project coming between the two prolific rappers stating, "When you and K. Dot dropping shit, b*tch never, they can't handle two black n***** this clever / But this February, bet sh*t get scary when I f*ck around and drop…" as the verse ends unexpectedly.

Listen to both "Black Friday" songs below and stay tuned for more developments on what could be a forthcoming project from Cole and Lamar.