Kendrick Lamar is here to deliver us from evil

Photo+courtesy+of+Merlijn+Hoek+via+Flickr
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Kendrick Lamar is here to deliver us from evil

Photo courtesy of Merlijn Hoek via Flickr

Photo courtesy of Merlijn Hoek via Flickr

Photo courtesy of Merlijn Hoek via Flickr

Photo courtesy of Merlijn Hoek via Flickr

Wendy Medina,
Copy Editor

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First, let us all take a second to thank LeBron James.

Second, Kendrick Lamar did it again.

A tweet from James to Lamar was the final push to the release his compilation album “untitled unmastered.,” a number of unreleased, saucy tracks previously recorded from “To Pimp a Butterfly” sessions. Groovy synth instrumentals and jazz fusion-style were once something relatively unheard of in the rap industry, however when TPAB dropped in early 2015, K-Dot shattered not only the first-day stream record worldwide on Spotify, but essentially revolutionized the world of rap.

What sets Lamar apart from his contemporaries is his ability to experiment, with a middle finger up to the boundaries of what a rap artist should be and to do so with such technique and assertion. Every time he takes it to a new level, and every time he delivers. Whether in his music or as a social issue advocate, never for a second does he lose the immense magnitude of passion to voice his people.

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Just look at his 2016 Grammy performance; he walked on stage in shackles, his band behind bars, to sing “The Blacker the Berry,” a song that expresses self-hatred for his race because of how society has stereotyped and ultimately condemned Black people. In a striking transition, the music morphs into “Alright,” the message best embodied by it’s hook, “Nigga, we gon’ be alright;” this song a mantra for the Black Lives Matter movement. His performance, his music, epitomizes the African American experience today and speaks volumes to those continually oppressed by society, that there is hope. This is what makes Lamar the greatest in the game to potentially define a generation.

Immediately as the first track in this compilation album, “untitled 01 | 08.19.2014.” starts playing, the bass strumming along previously featured artist Bilal’s provocative intro, it’s obvious this is going to be a good song. Once the beat fades into a quicker tempo and Kendrick starts spitting at full force, I find myself bobbing my head with as much energy as if I were in the pit, seeing him live. The beat and his unrelenting verses about repentance and redemption hit deep because in his vision, he is the messiah warning mankind, however still reminding us that he’s got our backs when he raps, “I made ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ for you / Told me to use my vocals to save mankind for you / Say I didn’t try for you, say I didn’t ride for you.”

A fusion of soul, jazz, funk, Lamar’s lyrics continue to acknowledge Compton, continue to acknowledge the harsh reality of a scapegoated people, bringing forth sentiment once seen in “good kid, m.A.A.d city,” and carrying on his narrative from TPAB. A total time of 34:09 minutes in solely eight tracks definitely leave you wanting more. Whether it’s the soulful music, the hard-hitting lyrics or both, “untitled unmastered.” is drenched in all sorts of emotion that strikes a chord with those who have faced and are facing the same struggle.

His music is something refreshing, different than the generic raps consumed by objectifying women and stacking cash; Lamar illustrates something raw that hundreds of thousands of fans can relate to and falls in sync with the current plight of minorities and discrimination.

Kendrick once again not only redefines the craft, but serves as a voice bringing about social commentary on issues of racism and police brutality, for which he rightfully earns the title of legend.