I couldn’t have opened my MacBook Pro fast enough so I could start jamming to Kendrick Lamar‘s surprise drop of untitled unmastered. I read about it earlier on The Shade Room (yes I shamelessly check it out every day on Instagram) and quietly became excited that it could be true. I then read around 11:20 PM that it was available on both Spotify and Apple Music and my Twitter fingers became desperate digits. Give me Lamar (music) now.
All the tracks are listed as “untitled” in lower cases and seem to be marked with actual dates such as track 1 that read as “untitled 01 | 08.19.2014.”
I didn’t read one review before I started listening. The first track commenced with some weird, ’70s pimp sounding guy. Insert my pursed smile. But thankfully Lamar’s voice slowly came in and we’re relieved of the horny guy. (No orgasmic sounds or anything. Just a bunch of sweet nothing hogwash).
My real time reactions to all eight tracks are below as followed!
- Playing like a side B of To Pimp A Butterfly, which I guess will be the sentiment of most of untitled unmastered, at some point, I am going to need to fill in the blank of the lyrical line that starts with: “No more bitches and real niggas wishing for ______ culture…” I rewound, at least, five times and still couldn’t decipher it. I’ll find out by Saturday I’m sure, thanks to online lyric forums. And that 1987 shout-out earned a yasssss from me.
- “Pimp, pimp hooray!” lets me know track two is here. (Is this like a 2016 soundtrack to another reimagined version of Shaft?)“Get God on the phone, it won’t be long. I see jigaboos. I see styrofoams…” A Spike Lee reference and Lamar is singing like an elderly man that’s seen it all and “all” mostly consisting of shit he could’ve done without, but fuck it. He then drops a line about 9/11 in a way that recalls how Biggie said “about to get paid, blow up like the World Trade” (about the 1993 explosion). It’s casual yet the artist (Lamar) is aware of the kind of example he has chosen to use. It’s not offensive but momentous.
- Giving me that funk and soul! The choir sings “What did the Asian say?” Yep. And this international talk was confirmed when the all-woman choir came back and sang: “What did the Indian say?” Lamar promptly answers every question. Though I’m not sure how to feel that for the Black man, included is, “pussy is power.” Hmmm. Great track regardless. Then a Pharrell blurb, circa “Frontin'”, comes in.
- “Head is the answer. Head is the future. Don’t second guess yourself…” I think that’s what I heard. Double entendre as fxck. Giving me Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo “is a gospel album vibes.” Under two minutes.
- Great instrumental in the beginning. Like alternative jazz. That sounds kind of weird, but it makes sense when you hear it. There are cymbals in the background. It’s like jazz with world music. A woman is singing. Again, my references are reaching and this time, for Tinashe‘s Black Water (honest. Give that mixtape a try. So good). “Why you want to see a good man with a broken heart?” I could ask you the same thing with myself in mind. Another male artist shows up but features aren’t listed. He sounds good. He says: “I know perception is key, so I am king.” Is that “Formation” remix with Beyonce gonna happen??
- Andre 3000 meets Swizz Beatz and Ryan Leslie. Jazz and pop here. I’m already picturing myself with a nice ass glass of something, sipping at the now gone legendary bar Lenox Lounge in Harlem. Harlem Renaissance in the house. I really like this one. Favorite track hands down.
- “Pimp, pimp, hooray” is back. Couldn’t we at least have gotten a madam this time? (Kidding, sort of). “Levitate, levitate, levitate.” A theoretical track about all the things that can get you “high.” Or maybe not. Second favorite. A kiss-off, petty song that wants you to get your shit together. Oh shit. This one is the epic track at eight minutes. “Until my next album, more power to ya.” Drake as fxck moment. Ends with a voicemail type stream of consciousness singing.
- Off the bat, I love the electro, disco-y, ’80s R&B. Kendrick is so melodic. Damn, this may be the new favorite track after just declaring track 6 as my first. Oh God yes, this track is perfect. New favorite. I found my repeat track. “You make my moves with shackled feet” I think he said. Praise Jesus.