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.