Total Article : 200
About Me:18-year-old sixth form student, studying English Literature, History and Government and Politics. My articles will broadly cover topics from the current affairs of politics to reviews of books and albums, as well as adding my own creative pieces, whether it be short fiction or general opinion.
“Ya’ll got til April 7th to get your shit together!” Such was the ending to Kendrick Lamar’s beat-schizophrenic, industry rousing ‘The Heart Part 4’. He had everyone’s eyes on him – whether it was his salivating fans waiting in anticipation for an album, other artists with wobbling lips in anxiety or even those that don’t listen to Lamar but were curious to see him release a diss track. Well, despite a few skid marks, our shit was well and truly together. April 7th came around, and we were only asked to get our shit together for another week. Now it is revealed that Kendrick’s next album, titled ‘DAMN.’ Will be released on the 14th April, and the world waits.
How was he able to drum up such anticipation then? Well, as he states with his braggadocious delivery on a verse on ‘The Heart Part 4’, he ‘dropped one classic, came right back, another classic’. His second album, Good Kid, m.A.A.d City, is considered by many as an album which saw a return to the true origins of hip-hop where lyrical and storytelling dexterity was placed at the forefront of the music. The album told the story a young man growing up through the struggles of Compton; but it wasn’t just the narrative that enthralled listeners – it was Kendrick’s artistic means with which he put it together. This artistry would increase ten fold on his masterpiece, ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’, an album that is now studied in a module at Cambridge University. This album tapped into a more political and topical atmosphere, and stood as both didactic and a call-to-arms on black issues. The incorporation of funk, jazz and neo-soul elements saw Kendrick move away from the mainstream trap beats, and instead carve his own name through artistic statement rather than hit singles, though the song ‘Alright’ went on to become the unofficial anthem of the Black Lives Matter movement. Lamar then went on to drop a collection of B-sides off of his latest work under the name ‘untitled unmastered’, an ‘album’ which was better than most rapper’s hard-worked full-length LPs.
And now we have the first single off of ‘DAMN.’ ‘Humble’, which is thus far Kendrick’s biggest hit. Fit with a slippery flow over staccato piano notes and a killer hook, the track appears as a call out to other artists, to ‘sit down and be humble’ as he is ‘the realest’. Whilst other music critics have seemed to focus on the fact that Kendrick seems to assume Big Sean’s adlibs, and so take it as a dig, what I find more intriguing is the intro to the song. Kendrick says ‘nobody pray for me / it been that day for me’ with a bass voice underneath. As we know from previous projects, Kendrick is a fan of the leitmotif, whether it be the poem that runs through ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ or the ‘pimp pimp! Hooray!’ on ‘untitled unmastered’. This intro could then be a hint into a motif of the concept of the album, which he has already hinted has a religious ingredient in it.
King Kendrick sits atop his throne, untouchable, lest ‘DAMN.’, with its ambitious features (James Blake, U2, BadBadNotGood etc.), brings him down a peg. Needless to say, if he comes back and ‘drops another classic’, his name will be amongst those that are considered the greatest to ever do it.
Image Credits: XXL.com