Kendrick Lamar sure loves to surprise his fans these days. He surprised everyone with the release of untitled unmastered. late Thursday night.
The eight-track, 35 minute release consists of demo material from post good kid, m.A.A.d city to last years remarkable album, To Pimp A Butterfly. untitled unmastered. is more of a project than an album as each song is dated accordingly to when they were recorded. Outside of the social and political issues that Kendrick usually raps about, a reason why TPAB is so unique is because of the use of jazz in Lamar’s tracks. untitled unmastered. features plenty of jazz and soul, but more unusual jazz noises compared to TPAB.
It starts with untitled 1 (08.19.2014). The track holds a warning for humanity. Kendrick condemns humanity for its wrongdoings and attempts to reckon with God on Judgement Day. “I made To Pimp a Butterfly ‘fore you told me to use my vocals to save mankind for you,”.
Untitled 2 (06.23.2014) has Kendrick’s voice cracking along with something we wouldn’t expect from the rapper. A “Pimp, pimp!!— Hooray!!” chant (a cheer for the critical success of TPAB) then Kendrick mulls the idea of emptying his bank account and splurging on diamonds, cars, women, and liquor: “(Expletive) is amazing, I’m feeding my cravings,“.
The upbeat vibe on untitled 3 (05.08.2014) was performed on the finale of The Colbert Report. The unique track comes with a solid message when Kendrick has conversations with four people from different cultures. They question his artistic integrity when all along, Kendrick has been a success without selling out to the industry. “What if I compromise? He said it don’t even matter / make a million or more, you living better than average/ You losing your core following, gaining it all,”.
The 1:50 track of untitled 4 (08.14.2014) features an unsettling interlude between SZA and Jay Rock. The two trade moody and soulful lines that leads into untitled 5 (09.21.2014). This time around, Kendrick’s verses paint a picture of man who used to go to church to get advice from God who is now binge drinking while staking out to rob somebody. “Once upon a time I used to go to church and talk to God. Now I’m thinkin’ to myself, hollow tips is all I got. Now I’m drinkin’ to myself, at the intersection, parked. Watch you when you walk inside your house. You threw your briefcase all on the couch,”.
This track is also familiar to fans when Kendrick performed several verses during his widely hailed Grammy performance last month.Along with that, the track also has Anna Wise’s vocals over the cymbal crashes and piano keys.
Untitled 6 (06.30.2014) comes with a smooth, and a jazzy beat. The main theme of the song is confidence in yourself. Kendrick finds the confidence to tell his crush how he really feels about her. He also has the help from fellow Grammy rapper Cee-Lo Green on this track.
The three-part track on untitled 7 (2014-2016) consists of multiple parts there were recorded in 2014 and up to this winter. Swizz Beat’s five-year old son, Egypt, produced this track! The structure of the track is reminiscent to Sing About Me/ Dying Of Thirst off his classic good kid, m.A.A.d city album from 2012. Throughout the track, he preaches Hiiipower from Section.80 while showing his broadside to his competitors in the industry. The melodies throughout it close out with a conversation in the recording studio.
Unofficially known as Blue Faces, untitled 8 (09.06.2014) was performed on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on January 7th, 2016. The track discusses the main theme to each track. One of a young woman struggling with her come-up, the other an impoverished voice lashing out at Kendrick’s own accounts of his struggles. The final track is fitting because it ends with questioning what exactly we owe to the universe for existing, and how we need to fight for what we’re not in life. “In today’s day and age we practise the self pity of taking the easy way out. You wait on them, him or her. But when a blessing takes long, that’s when you go wrong,”.
untitled unmastered. should be considered as part three of TPAB. Kendrick has a long history of incorporating spirituality in his music and he continued to do that with untitled unmastered. Finally, Kendrick is able to relieve pressure as it was at an all-time high after good kid, m.A.A.d city. It’s too early to tell if untitled unmastered. will be one of the best albums of 2016. It’s been out for just over a day and the year is only three months old. But this is a fine follow up release to To Pimp A Butterfly.