ARTIST: Kendrick Lamar
RELEASE DATE: July 2 2011
Kendrick doesn’t need any more hype. He’s already made it. But as the years go by and he gains more and more fans, I’ve noticed an interesting trend: people don’t speak enough about this album, in my opinion.
This is what started it all (mainstream wise; his mixtapes obviously put him on the radar but this album cemented him on the world map) and as far as I’m concerned (hot take here) I think this is his best work to date. He was hungriest here, even going so far to tell his future boss he’d “break his wrist” if he ever gave him a handout.
Now, it may be nostalgia – I was set to embark on a new journey in my life at the time (shout out to all the j-school scholars out there) – but I always go back to this particular album for everything from motivation, jams, workout music and everything in between. It is as well rounded a project as you’ll find and it’s perfect from beginning to end. For a technically underground rapper at the time, Kendrick didn’t squander this opportunity and made sure he had the right balance of features and production (from the likes of RZA, ScHoolboy Q, J. Cole, Ab-Soul, Sounwave and BJ The Chicago Kid to name a few) to match his crazy lyricism.
He created anthems on here (see: Hiiipower, Ronald Reagan Era, Fuck Your Ethnicity) and I swear if a revolution does occur, it’ll be one of these tracks that serves as the soundtrack to the revolt. There’s something on here for everyone so if you’re looking for something to listen to, try Kendrick’s major label debut. Whether you need your thoughts provoked, something to hit the gym to, or just need to vibe out (see: Blow My High and ADHD) you’ll find something here. This very well could be some of the realest rhymes you ever here and it serves as a reminder why Kendrick is such a respected MC.