The highly anticipated project from recording artist Kendrick Lamar has finally been released! A fervor that peaked even more last week with the release of The Heart Pt. 5. It hit me Wednesday while on the way to Freddie Gibbs show at Irving Plaza.
A brother of mine, actor/poet/artist, Drew Drake and I were talking through our personal introduction to Kendrick's art. My uninspiring intro started when I first heard "B*tch Don't Kill my Vibe;" I thought his rhyme pattern was masterfully pristine, let alone the lyrics to the chorus! It is beyond words to describe how I felt belting out "I am a sinner/ Who's probably gonna sin again..." half-drunk after winning a conference championship in college.
Fast forward to Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers, Kendrick has managed to play all of his cards and win every book! You get introspective Kendrick, story-telling Kendrick, "Control" Kendrick, the vocal-performer Kendrick, just to name a few of his high cards. Even in the in-direct elements of this album like the verbal back and forward between the two narrators on "We Cry Together," "F*ck you B*tch! F*ck you B*tch!" It's eerily similar to Janet Jackson and Tupac's first exchange in Poetic Justice, which ended with their characters dating. Tupac references don't die there! Peep the album cover (crown of thorns) or the charged statement "Tupac is dead/ gotta think for yourself" in "Savior".
This is undeniably a West Coast album or at the very least a homage to the West Coast's place in the culture. All in all, after the 7th listen to Kendrick's second longest album (second only to TPAB, which is not surprising) there are more gems to uncover in the layers of this project. My only question is will we ever be able to appreciate this cultural moment/ reckoning or will we scroll past it?