Tag: kendrick lamar

MUSIC REVIEW | Kanye West – The Life of Pablo (2016)

WilcoIn a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “I liked it a whole lot of it, I just feel like I may have liked it more if Pablo was given a chance to speak for itself, instead of coming loaded with all the baggage of its lead up.”

Pablo 1

The music industry is more diverse and fluid these days than ever before.  Such easy access for the consumer means artists have to find new and different ways to stand out from the crowd.  I read one band say that in the old days, you toured to spread awareness of a new record, then make your money by shifting those units.  Now, you release a record so you have a reason to tour and live off those ticket sales.


Last year, Foo Fighters hyped the release of Sonic Highways by making an entire HBO series to go along with it.  While on the other end of the spectrum, megastars like Beyonce drop albums out of the blue.  Wilco did the same, one upping it by surprise releasing an album, and giving it away for free.  I know they weren’t the first to do it, but they were first band I liked who did it.  But I can’t think of anything that comes close to the calculated marketing genius, or massive cluster fuck fluke (it’s a coin toss which is true), that was the lead up to Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo. (more…)

***2015 RECAP**** MUSIC REVIEW | Dr Dre – Compton (2015)

compton
Dr Dre is possibly the most enduring name in hip hop.  Other people have come along to become more famous and sell more records than him at certain moments in time, but he’s always there when they disappear.  Often, he’s the production mastermind behind those people who temporarily take hip hop’s crown.  So when he surprise dropped his first record in 16 years, it was a pretty big deal for a musical genre that Dre helped make a big deal in the first place.  I listened to his solo debut The Chronic once years ago, and never listened to its follow up, 2001.  So while it means I don’t have all that much context about where his latest, Compton, fits into Dr Dre’s discography, it also means I don’t have huge expectations for it to reach.


Why release an album now, with no proper warning?  Well, Talk About It opens Comptoin by letting us know just exactly why.  “Still got Eminem cheques I haven’t opened yet…  I Want it all…  Fuck you, fuck you and fuck you in the corner too…  One thing I do know, is one day I’m have everything”. (more…)

***2015 RECAP*** MUSIC REVIEW | Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly (2015)

Kendrick 2

When I decided to listen to and write about Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.Ad city, it was totally based on the barrage of amazing reviews and word of mouth I’d read and heard for this year’s follow up.  I can’t remember the last time an album generated so much praise and unsolicited conversation with people I know.  And that lead to an awesome, belated discovery with good kid, m.A.Ad city.  So now it’s time to see if that praise and unsolicited conversation starter lives up to that praise and unsolicited conversation, as well as the high precedent set by its predecessor.  It’s time to dive into To Pimp a Butterfly


With its wahed out, synth bass line, and disco-like falsetto vocals, Wesley’s Theory immediately throws a level of funk and groove at me that I don’t remember hearing much of on good kid.  But, when you collaborate with George Clinton, funk and groove are inevitable.  Too bad it’s followed up by one of the most inessential, tossed off songs I have ever heard in my life.  For Free? is as gimmicky lyrically as it is masturbatory in its free form jazz instrumentation. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Dr Dre – Compton (2015)

compton
Dr Dre is possibly the most enduring name in hip hop.  Other people have come along to become more famous and sell more records than him at certain moments in time, but he’s always there when they disappear.  Often, he’s the production mastermind behind those people who temporarily take hip hop’s crown.  So when he surprise dropped his first record in 16 years, it was a pretty big deal for a musical genre that Dre helped make a big deal in the first place.  I listened to his solo debut The Chronic once years ago, and never listened to its follow up, 2001.  So while it means I don’t have all that much context about where his latest, Compton, fits into Dr Dre’s discography, it also means I don’t have huge expectations for it to reach.


Why release an album now, with no proper warning?  Well, Talk About It opens Comptoin by letting us know just exactly why.  “Still got Eminem cheques I haven’t opened yet…  I Want it all…  Fuck you, fuck you and fuck you in the corner too…  One thing I do know, is one day I’m have everything”. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly (2015)

Kendrick 2

When I decided to listen to and write about Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.Ad city, it was totally based on the barrage of amazing reviews and word of mouth I’d read and heard for this year’s follow up.  I can’t remember the last time an album generated so much praise and unsolicited conversation with people I know.  And that lead to an awesome, belated discovery with good kid, m.A.Ad city.  So now it’s time to see if that praise and unsolicited conversation starter lives up to that praise and unsolicited conversation, as well as the high precedent set by its predecessor.  It’s time to dive into To Pimp a Butterfly


With its wahed out, synth bass line, and disco-like falsetto vocals, Wesley’s Theory immediately throws a level of funk and groove at me that I don’t remember hearing much of on good kid.  But, when you collaborate with George Clinton, funk and groove are inevitable.  Too bad it’s followed up by one of the most inessential, tossed off songs I have ever heard in my life.  For Free? is as gimmicky lyrically as it is masturbatory in its free form jazz instrumentation. (more…)

MUSIC REVIEW | Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city (2012)

kendrick-lamar-good-kid-maad-city-standard-edition-cover

When Kendrick Lamar surprisingly dropped his album To Pimp a Butterfly a few weeks ago, a hip hop fan friend of mine called it the greatest hip hop album since Lamar’s last release.  That’s the kind of hyperbole that makes me immediately suspicious of any album.  But as the weeks have past, too many reviews have appeared saying basically the same thing.  Even Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers felt compelled to chime in and sing its praises.  That was when I knew it was an album I needed to hear.  But before that, I thought I should get some context and Lamar history, by listening to his previous record, good kid, m.A.Ad city.


Immediately, Sherane AKA Master Splinter’s Daughter, makes me realise that the hype around Lamar might be more than just hype.  The beats and production are pretty cool, but it’s Lamar’s work on the mic that stands out.  It sounds like you could whack this dude’s voice on any old beat, or no beat at all, and it would be impossible to ignore.  Even the super annoying, robotic chorus refrain of Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe can take away from the awesome flow of Lamar in the verses.

Comparing himself to Martin Luther King Jr might not be the most sensitive or intelligent thing for Lamar to do, but I do know that it’s pretty ballsy.  And I also know that it’s just one small part of a whole lot of awesome that is Backstreet Freestyle. And while that track is all about the herky jerky visceral edge, The Art of Peer Pressure delivers just as much impact through its silky smooth rhythms and liquid feel.

With good kid, Lamar piles on absolutely everything.  Amazing verses of passion, an irresistible vocal hook in the chorus, and the most accessible beats on the album up to this point.  While everything before it is challenging (in a great way), this is the kind of track that would make sense to me if it blew up the charts.  Which is what makes it the perfect match to its evil twin, m.A.A.d city.  And while I usually think hip albums rely too much on collaborations in general, MC Eiht totally kills this song in the second half, making it one of the albums real highlights.

While I could do with a little less of the dodgy effects on the vocals whenever Lamar sings instead of raps, that’s one very small downside amidst a shit load of upsides.  good kid, m.A.Ad city makes my friend’s hyperbolic praise seem kind of on the money.  It also makes me officially pumped to hear what Kendrick Lamar has done with To Pimp a Butterfly, an album that what I’m told is greatest hip hop album since good kid, m.A.Ad city.

Kendrick Lamar