Written by Solace
Hello and welcome to “musical vibes”, my weekly release of my thoughts and opinions when it comes to all things melodic. Tune in, as every week we look deeper into the magical world of song.
Kendrick Lamar, the 25 year old Hip Hop music artist, has an impressively large discography for someone of such a young age. Previously referring to himself as “K Dot” in his first four mix tapes, upon the release of his first studio album “Section 80,” Kendrick decided to ditch the alias and use the full name given to him at birth.
While his first three studio achievement cannot be disregarded as poor by any means, it was only when his fourth mix tape, “Overly Dedicated,” hit the industry did Kendrick begin to fully begin his ascension into the mainstream.
In 2011, Kendrick Lamar released “Section 80” and “good kid, m.A.A.d city” in 2012. The huge success of these albums in the mainstream have propelled him in such a short amount of time to work with artists such as Snoop Dogg, Dr Dre, Drake and 50 Cent.
However, by most of Kendrick’s fans and critics, he is considered to be a “socially conscious” rap artist and one of the very few who have found such a warm reception from the mainstream Hip Hop industry that mainly concerns itself with flashy cars, impressive jewellery and scantily clad women.
So what really sets this young enthusiastic up start apart from the rest of the ridiculously dressed, overly tattooed and hilariously named rap artist wannabes?
I had heard the name “Kendrick Lamar” thrown around in conversation about new rappers that showed promise before, but I never really had taken the time of day to actually listen to any of his material. Almost by chance, I stumbled across a link to one of his songs on my Facebook news feed- “Hiiipower.”
While listening to the song, I was immediately struck by how unique Kendrick’s style is. Although the underlying themes of the song were very serious issues such as racism and the distrust that those living in poverty have of the American government, his method of delivery wasn’t preachy. In a way, the song was just a concoction of his own simple observations, his own distrust and the roots of where that stemmed, and his own thoughts and feeling layered throughout the verses. With a ray of motivation shining through the mist of guilt, anger and confusion that Kendrick so brilliantly expresses, he encourages us to “build our own pyramids, write out own hieroglyphs,” and against the tides of hardships, achieve our own greatness.
Another song from Section 80 which contributed to my new found love for K Dot’s music is called “A.D.H.D.” The song discusses the culture of casual drug abuse in his generation, but does so in a way which is captivating and dynamic.
As an artist, Kendrick likes to play certain characters in his songs to get the listener to understand a specific mind set better. Here he plays a young person at a party who has a chance encounter with a girl abusing substances. She relates the addiction to drugs, and their generation’s low concentration for the life with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The genius behind the song is that all of the interactions between the two individuals actually do suggest that they both have ADHD as they jump randomly from topic to topic. Performed over a dream like instrumental, with a very electronic feel to it, Kendrick once again manages to discuss issues that plague his own conscious and make great music.
But what genuinely makes Kendrick Lamar so appealing as an artist is his care for the all elements of his music. He tells stories, has catchy choruses, and delivers a message, all the while dedicating his livelihood to making sure that each song has a certain feel to it. Ultimately, I feel that Kendrick proves himself as the connection between the popular and the underground, and all the while remaining true to himself- and consistently putting out quality music. I personally would feel content knowing that the future of Hip Hop lies in the hands of Kendrick Lamar.
“You ever seen a newborn baby kill a grown man?
That’s an analogy for the way the world make me react
My innocence been dead
So the next time I talk about money, hoes, clothes, God and history
all in the same sentence
just know I meant it, and you felt it
cause you too are searching for answers
I’m not the next pop star, I’m not the next socially aware rapper
I am a human mother—-ing being over dope ass instrumentation”
– KENDRICK LAMAR
If you’ve read this article and happened to have thought to yourself “Wow! This is great/excellent/interesting/provocative/terrible” then drop a comment letting us know what you think and what your point of view is!