Review: untitled unmastered by Kendrick Lamar

On March 4th, 2016, Kendrick Lamar astounded the hip hop industry and fans with his EP called untitled unmastered. Winning the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, To Pimp A Butterfly lived up to great standards, and as residuals from that album, the tracks on untitled unmastered are filled with jazz and soulful sounds.

On “untitled 03,” intellectuals from different minority groups counsel Kendrick on the essentials of life, but the person taking advantage of and in many ways monetizing Kendrick is the white man. For example, Kendrick says, “A piece of mine’s, that’s what the white man wanted when I rhyme, telling me that he selling me just for $10.99, if I go platinum from rapping, I do the company fine.” This is also alluding to the period of slavery when the white owner placed a certain value on the black slave based on his skill and/or work ethic. In “untitled 05,” which features singer Anna Wise, Punch, and fellow Black Hippy member Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar explains the detrimental, “screw society” type of behavior induced by blacks and other minorities due to them being trapped in this system of social incongruence and utter oppression. Here are several lines that validate Kendrick’s disappointment in American society: “I’m passin’ lives on a daily, maybe I’m losing faith, genocism and capitalism just made me hate, correctionals and these private prisons gave me a date, professional dream killers reason why I’m awake.” Lamar really shines light on corruption and exploitation in untitled unmastered; these themes constitute his substantive, meaningful lyrics.

Furthermore, “untitled 07” is an eight minute track highlighting high-level feelings, his Compton roots, his place in the game, and funny, sexual rap-talk. In the first part of the song, he chants, “levitate, levitate, levitate, levitate,” and then the song epically transitions to glorifying reverberations and a boy singing, “Compton is where I’m from, is where I’m from, where is I’m from.” You can tell how much the city of Compton means to Kendrick and that his viewpoint and purpose originates from his experiences there. This is evident in many of his songs and songs in which he is a featured artist, notably on the track “The City” by The Game ft. Kendrick Lamar. On the latter part of “untitled 07,” he sings in an R&B-like-fashion to a lascivious female, “Said you just make me wanna Drake you down, to the ground, to the ground, like bam, bam, bam, bam, bam.” He cleverly uses Drake as a verb, and you all know what he’s talking about. The more playful and humorous facet of Kendrick is exemplified on this kinky verse. The untitled unmastered EP is filled with stories of the past, valuable insight on the American political and social system, and soulfulness.

The EP can be streamed on the music service Spotify, and it is also available for purchase on iTunes.

CLPPNG

CLPPNG – Clipping

 

CLPPNG is an experimental project from the power electronic producers William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes. Their production along with the self aware raps of MC Daveed Diggs creates this aggressive and unconventional album that I absolutely love. The album starts off with an uncomfortably high note followed by a roar of static foreshadowing the albums approach to the balance between music and barely listenable sounds. Going in with an open mind is a must and even with that some tracks are hard to listen to all the way through. The track Dream has Daveed rapping over what sounds like water flowing obscured by white noise and drones on a little too long and the final track Williams Mix doesn’t attempt to be enjoyable. Despite this the highlights of the album, namely the ironic gangsta anthem Work Work, the provocative Tonight, and the stress inducing Story 2 make the album deserve a listen if you value experimentation. The high points nail a mood that you can’t find anywhere else.

Clipping

The album is the group’s second project following their first mixtape “midcity.” which I would only recommend if you absolutely need more noises in your life. The closest comparison to CLPPNG I can make in the realm of hip-hop would be Death Grips for also sharing a lack of attention to soothing noises.

 

Prescribed for: Boredom, DJ Mustard overdoses, and meth fueled listening sessions.

 

Side effects may include: General confusion, feelings of superiority, and an overwhelming desire to acquire recordings of power tools.

Review: The Life of Pablo by Kanye West

The Life of Pablo

Originally titled So Help Me God, then switched to SWISH, then changed to Waves, and then finally confirmed as The Life of Pablo, Kanye West’s seventh studio album serves as a hallmark for all his emotions and experiences throughout his career. Listening closely, one could recognize elements adopted from each one of his previous albums- the gospel sounds and rebellious nature from Late Registration and College Dropout, the prosperity from Graduation, the romantic and sexual sentiments from 808s & Heartbreak and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and the arrogance and aggression from Cruel Summer and Yeezus. What was extremely amusing was the hype and controversy surrounding the release of the album, as people did not know what the hell to expect but much was anticipated.

Maintaining the sonic genius inside him, Mr. West takes us to the extremes with his provocative yet pious messages. In the song “Ultralight Beam,” Kanye emphasizes, “I’m tryna keep my faith, we on an ultralight beam, we on an ultralight beam, this is a God dream, this is a God dream, this is everything, this is everything.” Reminiscent to his track “Jesus Walks” from The College Dropout in 2004, Yeezy asks God for guidance through the temptations that bound him. We all know Ye loves God, almost as much as he loves himself. Moreover, in “Father Stretch My Hands, Parts 1 and 2,” Kanye simply wants to “feel liberated” from the media and obsessions of the world. In addition, he reflects on his accomplishments and fame in the most egotistical way possible. He even has a song titled “I Love Kanye,” which highlights his personality over the years and how fans love Kanye “like Kanye loves Kanye.” On the song FACTS, he critically disses Nike and boasts about Yeezy, his clothing line of shoes under Adidas. Let’s not forget about Kanye’s undisrupted lust for the ladies, for he spills a little bit of his fantasy love life from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy on The Life of Pablo. In My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye basically foreshadows his marriage with Kim Kardashian on the song “Hell of a Night,” where he falls in love with and marries a pornstar. In The Life of Pablo, he tries to suppress his concupiscent enticements and remain loyal while being in such a relationship on the song “FML”. Kanye goes in hard with straight bars alongside Kendrick Lamar on the song “No More Parties in L.A.” There are several other awesome featured artists on this project such as Andre 3000, Frank Ocean, Chance The Rapper, Young Thug, Chris Brown, and Rihanna. The production is incredible as always, and he drowns listeners with deep emotional melodies on songs like “Wolves” and “Waves.” Depression, infatuations, narcissism, and strife are all real concerns articulated throughout this work of art.

Kanye compares himself to Pablo Escobar, the notorious Colombian drug lord, and Pablo Picasso, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Additionally, he is able to buy his way through the fashion industry and assert himself as an interesting, controversial figure in social media and the news. As I like to say, “Yeezy gon’ do what Yeezy wanna do.” A handful of people dislike Kanye for some of his behaviors, but one could appreciate Mr. West for staying true to who he is and straight up speaking his mind.

Mr. West says The Life of Pablo will never be on sale but can be streamed on the music service TIDAL.

Here are a few of the songs from Kanye West’s soundcloud:

https://soundcloud.com/kanyewest/facts-explicit

 

 

G-Eazy in SLC!

The man known as G-Eazy is currently moving up in the rap game in leaps and bounds. Almost as quick as his home basketball team the Golden State Warriors took over the NBA. Gerald Earl Gillum is a 26 year old rap artist coming out of Oakland, California. His first album had tremendous success peaking at number 3 on the US Billboard 200, and his latest album, When It’s Dark Out, has already hit number 5 on the same chart since it’s release date December 4th 2015.  To support his album’s release G-Eazy is hitting the road, and much to our delight he will be making a stop in Salt Lake City on January 9th at The Saltair.

Gerald is the Steph Curry of the hip hop world right now. He’s on fire. So much so that the show is entirely sold out already. Admittedly, the tickets have been on sale for a few weeks now, but nonetheless selling out The Saltair is not a small feat. Luckily for all the G-Eazy fans who procrastinated buying their tickets I have good news. There will be an after party at The Hotel Elevate, which is a 21+ club located in central Salt Lake City. G-Eazy himself will be hosting this party, so for those of you who are of age and either missed buying a ticket to the show, or just want some more Gerald for your night check the following link.

https://www.saltlakecityconcerts.net/eventx/g-eazy-official-afterparty/

G-Eazy has several songs on youtube in the million view range already, and countless in the hundred thousands. I’ve included a few songs for those of you who have not heard his music yet, and also anybody who just wants to hear some hot tunes.

 

 

 

D.GLOVE: MY GLASS CEILING

My first run through of D.Glove’s album, My Glass Ceiling definitely captured my attention. But not for the right reasons. This album has a lot of moments that seem like generic reiterations of popular music themes. The issue was lack of lyrical creativity.

In my least favorite chorus, D.Glove repeatedly says, “I just want to go down in history.” Not a bad thing as far as historical impact goes. Even though it is a positive desire his word choice loses creativity points.  Other notables include:

“I’m taking life day-by-day”
“Baby I would never ever go nowhere without you,
“When you’re not around me I always talk about you”
“My sunrise, My sunset, It’s one touch”
“It’s one breath, It’s our life, lets live it together”

This chorus feels slightly more thought out, and I have to give it praise. I would say D.Glove can improve his word choice.

The other major aspect of Hip-hop music, and music in general is the beats/production quality. Overall, D.Glove’s production quality was solidly satisfying. On-track, was number three titled, “Together.” The beat resembles an EDM song you’d hear at a rave. D.Glove combines Hip-hop and EDM by trying rap over the beat. For me, it missed the mark.

I noticed songs 4 and 5 have almost the exact same beat. Once again, I have to dock D.Glove for absence of ingenuity. His beats were all quality, but at times they didn’t mesh with the Rap.  These details didn’t jump out until the third playback, at which point I was hitting skip on almost every track.

D.Glove released his album My Glass Ceiling with the best intentions.  His themes and song concepts are all very positive, but something  miss-fired in the delivery.

It frustrated me to hear D.Glove’s basic and repetitive choruses, knowing he’s better. He gets props for crisp and clean production, but Beat flow and rapping didn’t work. I hear D.Glove’s potential, which is why I look forward to improvement.

Overall I’d give My Glass Ceiling by D.Glove, a stout 4/10