Hot Track of the Week: “Untitled 2”

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After making history by becoming the rapper with the most Grammy nominations and nearly edging out Michael Jackson for most Grammy nominations in a single year (12 versus 11), Kendrick Lamar was invited onto the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to discuss his latest release and arguably best rap album of the year, To Pimp a Butterfly.  

Instead of performing a song off his opus, To Pimp a Butterfly, as the whole crowd and probably Fallon himself expected, Lamar throws a curveball and drops his second untitled track after teasing his fans with the first one on the final episode of The Colbert Report. As Lamar emerges from the darkness and into the spotlight on the stage, it’s clear that he’s about to absolutely stun the crowd with his lyrical and overall musical genius.

 

As though Lamar’s 11 Grammy nominations didn’t provide convincing evidence that he’s the best rapper on the scene right now, his demeanor in this performance surely makes it seem that way. Lyrics such as “You ain’t gotta tell me that I’m the one/Yes I’m the one” only add to the cause as Kendrick delivers the message that not only do his fans know he’s the best but that he truly is the best. Take a listen here!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZJXvjeWlVA

 

As a result of the commercial success of other rappers this year, I personally don’t believe that Kendrick Lamar has gotten the due credit he deserves for the strides he’s taken in the past year. Instead of standing in the footsteps of other big name rappers, Lamar has departed from the commercial side of rap and created a brand of his own by infusing his sound with accents of both jazz and funk. This new style is evident in To Pimp a Butterfly and based on the style and feel to “Untitled 2” it seems as though this is definitely his new direction. Additionally, Lamar strays away from the typical themes and undertones of rap songs and instead strives to challenge social norms and various institutions with songs such as “How Much a Dollar Cost”.

 

Overall, it’s clear that Lamar has hit his stride and will continue to dominate the rap world. While he has a difficult journey ahead competing with other commercial successes, I think that Lamar will continue to produce songs that are not only of high quality musically but also charged with political and social undertones that parallel the current happenings in the world. While I’m excited to see what Lamar has in store next, I fully acknowledge the fact that it will be hard to top To Pimp a Butterfly which has been praised not only by fans but by many music critics.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia commons