Sunday, March 6, 2016

Album of The Week: Kendrick Lamar's Sprawling Parliament-Funkadelic-inspired, Deconstructed Acid Jazz-Rap "B-sides Collection," untitled unmastered. (Top Dawg Entertainment)

"You see, all these performances on these late night shows – I got a chamber of material from the album that I was in love [with] where sample clearances or something as simple as a deadline kept it off the album. But I think probably close to ten songs that I'm in love with that I'll still play and still perform that didn’t make the cut," Kendrick Lamar told 2dopeboyz during a interview following his recent five-GRAMMY win; almost immediately after which Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James Tweeted, "Yo @dangerookipawaa after that @kendricklamar Grammy performance, you have to release those untitled tracks asap!!! What's up? Talk to me," directed at TDE CEO Anthony "Top Dwg" Tiffith. While I must admit, I'm not much of a sports fan, I've become a supporter of James' off-court endeavors in recent months: first, his side-splitting supporting role in Trainwreck alongside Amy Schumer and Bill Hader and now, for his role within ultimately, helping release Kendrick Lamar's sprawling Parliament-Funkadelic-inspired, deconstructed Acid Jazz-Rap opus, untitled unmastered. Lamar's 35-minute collection showcases eight self-described "demos from To Pimp a Butterfly in raw form. Unfinished. Untitled. Unmastered" recorded between 2013-16. untitled unmastered. was seemingly "leaked" to Spotify between 9:00pm-12 midnight this past Thursday into Friday night and features three previously released untitled compositions; Thundercat, Bilal, Terrace Martin & Anna Wise-assisted "untitled 03" debuted on Stephen Colbert's triumphant 2014 Colbert Report finale, DJ Khalil-produced "untitled 08" unofficially known as "Blue Faces" from his recent Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon performance, and fragmented chunks of his introductory "untitled 05" verse were performed at the end of his jaw-dropping 2016 GRAMMY Awards "The Blacker The Berry/Alright" medley.

untitled unmastered. additionally features Cee-Lo crooning "am I mortal man or make-believeeeee" over a beat hand-crafted by A Tribe Called Quest founder Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge-produced "untitled 06," two verses delivered by Black Hippy affiliate Jay Rock, TDE songstress SZA, Alicia Keys & Swizz Beatz's 5-year-old son Egypt Dean (who somehow produced half of "untitled 07"), TDE co-president and former emcee Terrence "Punch" Henderson, and is rumored to showcase the revered talents of session players Kamasi Washington and Robert Glasper. Punch revealed to Billboard during a recent phone interview that "as far as untitled [unmastered.], me and Kendrick always talked about doing a sort of Black Album, like how Prince did back in the day... There was no album cover, no song titles, no anything – just tracks he threw out." Although, it's merely a collection of To Pimp a Butterfly album left-overs resurrected from the cutting room floor, untitled unmastered. by far outshines Kendrick Lamar's recent "No More Parties In LA" collaborator Kanye West's mess of a scatterbrained "album," The Life of Pablo by leaps and bounds. untitled unmastered. is a much stronger, cohesive album compared against Pablo, even though Lamar's 8-track mini-album is simply a collection of unused TPAB demos, B-sides, song sketches, rough drafts, etc. It seems as though only time will tell, but Kanye & Kendrick reportedly recorded some "40 tracks" for possible inclusion within West's recently revitalized "weekly" G.O.O.D. Fridays series. I've been listening to untitled unmastered. on repeat nearly non-stop since downloading it around 12 midnight Thursday night and let me tell you, this is an impeccable collection of rough, yet fully fleshed-out, B-sides; a perfect companion piece to To Pimp a Butterfly, which in my opinion, about 99.9% of the time, outshines its GRAMMY-winning predecessor. Rap Year Book author Shea Serrano very well might have put it best during a flurry of untitled unmastered.-endorsing weekend Tweets: "it's so great that we're all lucky enough to be alive right now to watch Kendrick Lamar become the greatest rapper on Earth."

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