The pride of Compton dropped his first album last weekend. The album did not disappoint, bottom line K.Dot delivered. Somethings I loved, other things not so much. Full review after the jump
Uptown Soldier Album Review: Kendrick Lamar – Section 80
Production: B (Dude Dawg, Dave Free, and the guys at TDE give Kendrick exactly what he needed. This album won’t be remebered for its beats though.)
Lyrics: A+ (Real messages and dope verses the whole way through. Clever word play and unique flows really show how Kendricks on another level)
Completeness: B (Overall, the album progresses nicely. Although some tracks should definitely of been trimmed off)
Extras: B (Not much going here, but I consider that a positive. The album is all about Kendrick. Not thrilled by the lack of hard copies, promotion, and a legitimate single)
Overall: B+ (Great debut for K.Dot and one of my favorite albums in 2011)
You likely won’t be hearing any of Section 80 on the radio, you won’t be seeing it taking any number one chart positions, and you certainly won’t be hearing any ring tones from tracks on the album. But, none of that takes away from the fact that Kendrick Lamar’s Section 80 is a great debut album.
If Section 80 does not immediately impress you, be patient this is the type of album that may take a while to grow on you. K. Dot’s flows are so distinctive and unique on every song that your favorite track one day will be the one you weren’t feeling the day before. Some tracks even get better every time you play them (ie Rigamortus)
The album can be summed up simply as Kendrick’s journey through life, looking for answers to problems of his, all while staying true to his passion: Hip-Hop. “This the music that saved my life. Ya’ll be calling it Hip-Hop, I be calling it Hypnotize” says Kendrick on the first track F*ck Your Ethnicity. Messages like these can be found throughout the entire album. Fans of story telling rap will get chills and most likely break their rewind button off Keisha’s Song.
The beats that Lamar raps over are jazzy with lots of piano, percussions, and guitar riffs. Overall, they take a back seat to the words the Kendrick spits. His message and his bars are all more important and impressive then the instrumentals.
Kendrick, the Compton native started building up steam last year when Dr. Dre co-signed him on Power 106 and Cole did the same on his UStream. The hype is definitely warranted. After my first listen-through of Section 80 it became clear that Kendrick is the strongest lyricist under 30 with an album out. Kendrick seemed to follow the mold that Nas created. No big guest appearances or crazy beats. I wouldn’t say Section 80’s production is as minimalist as Illmatic’s, but compared to what’s out today Section 80 certainly feels simple, which in my mind is a good thing. The production gave K.Dot the ability to showcase his talents, which he did flawlessly.
Standout tracks of mine include: F*ck Your Ethnicity, Hol’ Up, Ronald Regan Era, Poe Mans Dream, Keisha’s Song, Rigamortus, Kush & Corinthians, and HiiiPower.
Tracks I didn’t love: Tammy’s Song, Blow my High.
My biggest gripe about the album is that there are too many tracks. The great songs make up the beginning and end, what’s left in the middle is a bunch of B-side tracks that should’ve been left for a “deluxe edition”. Nonetheless, the album’s progression from front to back is as smooth as Kendrick’s flow. The last track of the album, HiiiPower ends the album perfectly.
The lack of hard copies combined with the lack of singles or any real promotion are also issues I have with this project. Seems that TDE handled this more like a mix tape. While the finished work sounds like an album there was no aggresive marketing at all. I would of liked to of been able to purchase a hard copy at the local Best Buy. No deluxe edition is another problem. Why not put the tracks that weren’t as hot as bonus tracks for a deluxe edition? The album sounds great but poor decisions were made on the business end of things.
Overall, this is a rap album. You won’t be finding much R&B or Pop on here, this is a plus. I find it refreshing that we have young artists like Kendrick in the game. Not only is he giving the West Coast rap game some much-needed CPR but also he’s doing it his way. A true lyricist, K.Dot’s debut is exactly what we wished for.
Written by: Travis Berent