The Kendrick Chronicles: Untitled
When I listen to music there’s four tests I put each song through. I put each song/album I purchase through the same test to see if it will become a permanent fixture on the IPhone shuffle. The first test is how does that record jam when I play it as loud as my car sound system goes. I’m looking for how the 808’s knock, how the music makes me feel. The ability for a song to play from beginning to end at ignorant levels is very important to me. If I’m feeling the newest Kendrick Lamar record, everybody I drive by will be, too.
Next, can this particular record be played at your local bar and EVERYBODY in attendance vibe to it? I’m from Austin, Texas, if you know anything about my city its Sixth Street. A mile and a half of bars and night clubs that local police close off for us every Thursday-Sunday night just so we can party like it’s the last night before prohibition. Now, you might be asking yourself what in the world this has to do with music, let me break it down for you. We have so much diversity in that small of a space that you run across every single type of person you can imagine. Being exposed to so many different kinds of people gives you a different kind of ear; you develop a good sense of what a diverse group of people likes to listen to.
Third, does this song have the lyrical substance to feed my need for knowledge? Can I lean on this track to nourish my mind when I get tired of the club bangers that Future and Fetty Wap put out? You could have the hottest beat the earth has ever heard but if you don’t put any bars behind it, some food for thought, then in my mind, you only make it to the Turn Up playlist. I’m a man who is motivated, driven, someone who uses music that makes me think and has a message as a soundtrack for my life.
Last but not least, the song has to be smooth enough to be played around the lady friend. If she’s not feeling it, why is this record even in your rotation? Take note youngins, I’m dropping knowledge as we speak. You need to be able to put that song on while it’s just you and her riding around at nighttime through your city. I’ve learned that if it’s not an R&B slow jam, then the song has to be hard/have a nice melodic hook she can act thuggish with and rap/sing to you. I’ve put a lot of time into this research and trust me it works; you just have to find the right song.
This song right here, this beautiful piece of art that the Shakespeare of our age composed, untitled 02|06.23.2014., checks off that entire playlist. This is one of those rare songs that can be played anywhere, any time.
Kendrick let’s us inside his superstar-lavish lifestyle that he is currently living, “I just got a raise, spent it all on me, diamonds all appraised, and I’m bossing up.” He does it with this enticing-creepy flow, engaging you with his ability to stretch his voice and bring you in.
It strikes me as odd for Kendrick, it’s rare that we get to see this alternate side to him. He exposes the flashy side that he ever shares with the world. “Ah, pimpin’ and posin’, look what I drove in, ah, havin’ these hoes and I know that I’m chosen.” I don’t know another rapper who could make flaunting a lifestyle that most of us will never know sound so elegant and classy.
The first time I gave this record a spin I thought it was going to be a melodic anthem that we played for the rest of our lives. That was until we were introduced to Cornrow Kenny who proceeded to demolish the track with another one of Kendrick’s massacres we have come to know as verses.
“TDE the mafia of the west, move in silence, yeah, we juggin’ like that, act of violence, yeah, we juggin’ like that.” It goes from wanting to sing along to very dark and deep in a matter of seconds. He seems to be having a hard time pulling away from the Compton streets that he grew up in and learned to love. TDE, his record label, seem to be the only thing he has left from those days, everything in his life now is because of the industry. Could you imagine how hard that has to be for an artist like Kendrick? An artist who is so in touch with his roots and refuses to forget where he came from? It’s like taking a fish out of water and expecting him to react the same.
This record seems like the fight between Compton Kendrick and King Kunta. Same person; two completely different people. We get to experience the mind of a genius at work, simultaneously trying to fight itself at the same time.