Kendrick Lamar – Untitled Unmastered Review

After accomplishing the feat of making a mark on the history of Rap music, Kendrick Lamar has gone on to advance the success he’s had in the last twelve months with a surprise album of demo and unfinished tracks from the recording sessions of the multi-Grammy award winning To Pimp A Butterfly. Indeed it was an album that should have won much more than did. Nevertheless, this eight track work of throwaway pieces has been assembled and published in a more coherent and inclusive fashion than The Life of Pablo. For those looking to make the comparison between Kendrick and Kanye, then this small, under the radar album is an example of Lamar’s ascendancy.

‘Untitled 3’ is a track that is a more rhythmic and a fusion of chamber Jazz and Soul. The music shifts and jolts smoothly and Lamar slots his cool, yet speedy delivery nicely into the chords around him. It is genuinely a catchy and effortless track with undeniable purpose behind the easy and soft edged setting. The lyrics further this feeling with their engaging and relevant content as he outlines the desires and attitudes of the multi-ethnic society in which he lives. With ‘Untitled 1’ this lyrical quality is fully unleashed in an unrestrained fashion as he speaks of abuse and class discrimination. Musically, the setting is a disjointed and distorted version of a typical Rap backing track and is symbolic of what Lamar is currently doing for the genre. ‘Untitled 4’ is a simple track with an acapella  opening. It has few additions to it other wise and it remains a subdued and rather dark affair with yet more politically provocative lyrics.

‘Untitled 8’ contains a sound that is perhaps most evocative of TPAB with it’s buoyant and slightly warped beats and easy backing vocals. The double tracked vocals lead to a greater casual feel to the song. ‘Untitled 6’ features Kendrick rapping with a more soft edged style within a smooth Jazz environment. Cee Lo Green joins the track’s vocals and this track has a raw and natural easiness to it. Such a style plays well to Lamar’s casual and flowing rapping style. The album on the whole demonstrates a different set of traits that Lamar possesses in that in an album that is more stripped down and under-produced, Lamar still shines on the track. In many ways this album more of a casual affair than his last album. The varying styles and tones are appreciated, even if there are some messy transitions due to the unfinished state of some of the tracks. Another prominent album nonetheless, despite it’s mismatched compilation.


Kendrick Lamar – Untitled Unmastered = 8.5/10


Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

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