Album Review: Kendrick Lamar – Untitled Unmastered

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Untitled Unmastered is about what you would expect from an album full of songs that weren’t good enough to make it onto the best hip hop album of the decade. I love Kendrick, and I understand that Lebron James wanted to get his hands on Kendrick’s unreleased tracks, but releasing these as a full album just felt unnecessary. While hardcore Kendrick fans will obviously love this record, it didn’t do anything for me.

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On songs like Untitled 02 and Untitled 05 it’s abundantly obvious the songs are leftovers from To Pimp A Butterfly. On Untitled 02 you can hear the brass that was on “u“, and on Untitled 05 you can also hear musical themes that were on u. Still, these are actually two of my favorite tracks on the album, not just because of the easily identifiable elements from To Pimp A Butterfly, but because of Kendrick’s verses. When I heard about the album coming out I was excited; I expected all of these untitled tracks to have the same raw aggression that Kendrick had in his grammy performance. Instead we really only got aggressive verses on Untitled 02, Untitled 05, and Untitled 07. The rest of the tracks are interludes or softer songs, which I really don’t mind. I actually loved Untitled 06, and Ceelo Green made a great appearance on the track. I guess it’s more my fault than the album’s that I was expecting something different.

Fun Fact: Swizz Beatz’s 5 year old son produced the second part of  Untitled 07

Kendrick did deliver some pretty crazy disses on this album. Specifically on Untitled 07, where he calls out Jay Electronica and Drake. I thought Kendrick’s Jay Electronica diss was pretty clever, but I’m more excited about his Drake diss. On the track Kendrick raps “I gotta take it there, I ain’t even playin’ no more/ Said you just make me wanna Drake you down” Kendrick is basically saying he is gonna take Drake down. Is it bad I want them to exchange diss tracks? Probably, but who cares it would be really entertaining. Lyrically the album was pretty straight forward Kendrick, but I didn’t understand the parts of the album where he kept referring to head. Often in the album the phrase “head is the future” will appear, and I didn’t understand it at all. I thought he was talking about blowjobs. It turns out he might be talking about hedonism, but while I was listening it really took me out of the album.

Before you poke out your chest, loosen your bra

Before you step out of line and dance with the star

I could never end a career if it never start

I enjoyed this album, and I’m sure many other fans and critics enjoyed it, but you have to take this album for what it is. It’s always nice to have some new material to listen to but there wasn’t any substance to the songs unless you kept on thinking back to To Pimp A Butterfly, which wasn’t hard. This album is full of songs that weren’t good enough to make it onto the greatest hip hop album of the decade. Overall the album is good, but it’s not in anyway great or fantastic. Technically this album is the follow-up to To Pimp A Butterfly, but I wouldn’t call it that, I’d call his next album the follow-up. I will be anxiously awaiting Kendrick’s next album so we can actually gauge his progress since To Pimp A Butterfly.

Favorite Songs: Untitled 02, Untitled 05, Untitled 06

Least Favorites Songs: Untitled 04

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