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Untitled Unmastered boasts authenticity

Kendrick Lamar’s latest project full of quality content


Kendrick Lamar untitled
/ Courtesy of Top Dawg Entertainment The Spectrum

Album: Untitled Unmastered

Artist: Kendrick Lamar

Label: Top Dawg Entertainment

Grade: A+

Kendrick Lamar’s surprise drop of Untitled Unmastered fills the lack of quality lyrical content left by Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo.

Comprised of songs that didn’t make the tracklist for his To Pimp a Butterfly, the rapper flows seamlessly on eight-track release.

Untitled Unmastered dropped Thursday March 3, much to the surprise and joy of hip-hop fans. The project gives a deeper look into both Kendrick Lamar – AKA “Cornrow Kenny” – and To Pimp a Butterfly. The previous album was already painfully aware of the dark side of society and Untitled Unmastered is another trip down the righteous path.

“Untitled 01 08.09.2014” sets an intimate tone that can be uncomfortable to listeners. A quiet start fades away to fast-paced bars in Compton. What could have easily been the intro for TPaB sets the intro for his B-sides project.

“Cornrow Kenny, he was born with a vision,” starts an anecdotal verse on the second track, “Untitled 02 06.23.2014.”

Jazzy and downbeat, the track takes a look at materialism as it comes with growing success. Lamar contemplates how his own fame has manifested in his own life.

As an extension of TPaB, the projects are identical aesthetically, but being unmastered gives the project a raw feel not as prominent in TPaB.

The project features contributions from Grammy-nominees Anna Wise and Terrace Martin, as well as Grammy-winner Cee-Lo Green. TDE labelmates Jay Rock and Punch also make appearances, alongside singer SZA, producer Thundercat and singer and songwriter Bilal.

The sound of authenticity that comes on track seven, “Untitled 07 2014 – 2016,” is reminiscent of the home studio and the day-to-day grind that artists go through when starting out.

The disco-influenced g-funk is a theme throughout the project – Kendrick’s way of paying homage to the OG Bompton music scene.

Clocking in at 34 minutes, the vibe of the album is short-lived, but has a high replay-ability; you can easily play this album back-to-back three or four times.

The prime eventuality of listening to Untitled Unmastered is that you will find yourself replaying TPaB once more, giving in to the g-funk.

Kenneth Kashif Thomas is an arts desk editor and can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com. Follow him on Twitter at @KenUBSpec.


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