What’s up internets?
If you’ve read my previou posts you probably noticed I’m a huge Kendrick Lamar fan. It was the summer of 2010 when I started hearing his name. I had grown tired of hip-hop for and stopped listening to new rap music for a while (like two years) and just listened to older hip-hop albums and some indie rock (don’t ask me why, because I fucxing hate most indie rock today). I used to go to 2dopeboyz.com daily before I stopped checking for new music so my go-to site was, of course, 2dopeboyz. I noticed they were posting a lot of Kendrick Lamar and Curren$y stuff, and if I wasn’t seeing Kendrick’s name in a new 2dopeboyz post, I’d see him mentioned in the comments. The thing is, I thought Kendrick was Lamar Odom. The basketball player. So I refused to check him out, simply because I had never heard of a basketball player that was also a good rapper (no, Shaq is not a good rapper). So I stayed sleeping.
I think it was September or October when I finally decided to check him out. I saw a song posted called The Heart pt. 2. I listened to it. I was mesmerized. It was incredible. The amount of passion, the skill, the lyricism, everything was there. This was what I had been waiting for. So I did a YouTube search. I listened to Ignorance Is Bliss. I was blown away. This kid wasn’t a one-hit wonder. You know those kids that make one great song and then keep on making weak shit (no shots at Drake but Fear is probably the first song that really made me turn my head, but most of his other early stuff was pretty weak, in my opinion)? Yeah, he sure as fucx didn’t seem like that type.
So I downloaded O(verly) D(edicated). Cut You Off, Growing Apart, Opposites Attract, P&P, H.O.C., Heaven & Hell, She Needs Me, Barbed Wire, R.O.T.C., Average Joe, and the aforementioned Ignorance is Bliss and The Heart pt. 2 were all incredibly, incredibly dope. I had NEVER heard such incredible brilliance released for free before. Remember, I had been off the underground music scene for some time so I didn’t know how the mixtape game had developed. But this kid, this 23-year old kid (why am I speaking as if I’m older, haha), sparked a newfoudn interest in these underground dudes. I found J. Cole (actually, I knew about J. Cole and I had heard Lights Please which I thought was amazing, but this made me go and download his mixtapes and listen to them), it made me discover Curren$y, Rockie Fresh, Mickey Factz, XV, Childish Gambino, Macklemore, Jon Connor, Troy Ave, Donnis, Big KRIT, Fly.Union, ScHoolBoy Q, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock, Big Sean, LEP Bogus Boys, Logic, among others.
To round that up, I have to say that I’ve been looking forward to this album for almost two years. Even when Section.80 dropped, I knew Kendrick had even more to him, he wanted to do more, and he could do more. Let me tell you about the first time I posted Kendrick’s music on Facebook. I posted The Heart pt. 1. Immediately, I got way more likes than I usually get. People that I normally never chat with on Facebook hit me up and were like “SON, WHO THE HELL IS THIS KID RIGHT HERE”. The day after, at school (I was going to high school during this time), people were asking me about Kendrick, like who is he, where the fuck is he form, why haven’t they heard about him. I was kind of shocked at the reaction. Like, I knew the kid was nice, but I thought he was too deep and even eccentric for most people to instantly “get”. But that was when I knew Kendrick was a star. He made my friends, who usually don’t give a fuck about anything, CARE. He made them listen. If some rapper from Compton can move people all the way in Stockholm, how can he not become a star?
Section.80 just made me an even bigger believer. I actually have a signed copy of Section.80 (I also copped it on iTunes). Matter of fact, except for my Illmatic and Liquid Sword copies, Section.80 was the first album I paid money for. He was the first rapper that I thought deserved to be supported. He was clearly doing it for the music and for his fans and not because of fame. The amount of passion and energy he put it in the project could be felt all the way through my speakers. And he easily deserved my money.
Section.80 was an evolution towards an even more complete artist. The story-telling was more pronounced. O.D. was already a sonically cohesive project, but Kendrick and his team took it to the next level with Section.80 by adding the Chapters, by putting Keisha & Tammy in the plot, by adding the narrator. ADHD was a potential single, HiiiPower was crazy, Keisha’s Song was Kendrick channeling Tupac, Spiteful Chant was half-ignorant, fully-brilliant, Poe Mans Dreams was mad introspective, Rigamortis was a lyrical display, Blow My High had that classic Aaliyah sample, and Ab-Soul’s Outro… WOW. That was probably the first time people listened to Ab for real. I was already a fan because of Long Term 2, but it was nice seeing him absolutely KILL IT.
When you see an artist grow as Kendrick has, you just become so proud of him. I feel like my own brother has succeeded. That’s how I feel about Kendrick’s success. Maybe it’s taking it too far, I don’t even know Ken, but that’s also a sign of how music can create connections, create feelings and help people.
I wrote this as a thank you letter to Kendrick Lamar. Thank you Kendrick, thank you for every song you’ve made so far, for every project you’ve made so far and I hope you will continue to build on your legacy. Salutes!
Peace & Love