untitled unmastered Album Review - untitled 09 | 10.03.2016.

Kendrick Lamar is probably my favorite new-school rapper. Not only is he one of the deadliest spitters, but he also has an amazing ear for beats, and an exceptional mind to create music. Just take this project as an example: a body of work entirely made of untitled, unmastered songs! Sound simple enough, but who would do that? The answer: King Kendrick. I was extremely excited to check this one out, and it did not disappoint.

1. untitled 01 | 08.19.2014.
Interesting start! Not sure what's the point of the one minute interlude at the beginning, but I'll be skipping it every time I hear this track. Once the song starts, it bangs! Kendrick immediately reminds us why he's one of the most vicious rapper in the game. His flow is money! At times, he'll drop a bar before or after he should, but you can tell it's intentional. He's playing on the ‘unmastered’ theme. Content wise, he destroys it! Kendrick talks about how flawed mankind us, and warns us that unless we change, Doomsday will be upon us. The instrumental is pretty good, even if it feels a bit unfinished (again, ‘Unmastered’). Still, really like the bassline, and the pianos that pop in and out are so grimy! Also, the outro to the song is pretty sweet, with a To Pimp a Butterfly vibe. Great intro.

2. untitled 02 | 06.23.2014.
Damn! Really like this one. Beat wise, it sounds like a mix of K. Dot’s best albums. The atmosphere and drums scream Good Kid, and some of the Jazz instruments in here were all over TPAB. Kendrick's performance is quite extraordinary. His vocals are quite unique. But his delivery and the way his voice breaks at the end of each line is oddly satisfying. After a while, he smoothly transitions into rapping with a laid back tone, spitting a sharp verse about the change in his life ever since he got the fame. The last link to his Compton days lay within TDE, and he'll do anything for them. Excellent track.

3. untitled 03 | 05.28.2013.
Nice song. Throughout this one, different minorities give Kendrick a piece of mind. Really like the content. It's original and tasteful. The Asian wants health, the Indian wants land, the Black man wants pussy, and the white man wants power. Lyrically, K-Dot does his thing, reminding us just how good of a storyteller he is. The beat is pretty simple, but the melody is playful and it fits Kendrick's style. Sweet, short and dope.

4. untitled 04 | 08.14.2014.
This feels like an interlude, so I won't give it a score. However, I really like it. It reminded me of some of the skits in Eminem’s MMLP and SSLP. In this one, Kendrick and SZA promote free thinking as the future of the youth. SZA’s feature was perfect. Her vocals and delivery melted my heart. Love the instrumentation in here. Overall, superb interlude.

5. untitled 05 | 09.21.2014.
Man...I love how rich these instrumentals are. This one has an amazing bassline by Thundercat, alongside trumpets, saxophones and keys. Beat is bouncy and soulful. Anna Wise comes through, delivering some very sensual, soft vocals. Kendrick, Punch (TDE’s president. His verse was better than expected) and Jay Rock talk about social inequality and the way minorities are mistreated in a lot of ways. This is another song that I could easily see on TPAB.

6. untitled 06 | 06.30.2014.
Sweet track. I didn't know how much I wanted a Kendrick and CeeLo Green until I heard this song. It's just too smooth. The instrumental is laidback and old-school, with a tropical vibe. Kendrick and CeeLo talk to their potential lovers, promotion confidence in one's ownself. Again, Kendrick kills it. I do think the song could have been a bit shorter. Regardless, not mad at this one.

7. untitled 07 | 2014-2016
This track is insane! It's about the arc of an emotional rush: the initial hype, the swagger and confidence, and the eventual come down. The track is divided in 3 parts. Part one has a cocky Kendrick spitting basic lines with a lot of swagger. Things get real on part 2. It was actually produced by Swizz Beatz’ son: Egypt. Kid's 5 years old, and he produced a dope ass beat. In this one, Kendrick gets a lot more serious, spitting some crazy bars and even throwing shots at other rappers (maybe Jay Electronica). The third part is a completely unmastered recording session. It feels like the outro of 30 Hours by Kanye, except a lot campier. The places this track goes to really impressed me. Good job, K-Dot!

8. untitled 08 | 09.06.2014.
I'll be honest with you: I don't like the instrumental. It's not bad, but when Kendrick performed this song on Jimmy Fallon, it sounded a lot cleaner and soulful. After hearing the Fallon version about 100 times, I was disappointed. However, this version is still good. Very groovy. Kendrick spits bars, lamenting about the financial troubles of the African American community. Excellent outro.

Verdict: unlike his previous two projects, untitled unmastered is not a classic. However, make no doubt about it, it's a fantastic piece of work. Kendrick Lamar continues to deliver magnificent content, alongside playful instrumentals and ferocious verses. Hope this streak of dope music never stops.

Favorite Songs
untitled 02 | 06.23.2014.
untitled 07 | 2014-2016
untitled 03 | 05.28.2013.

Least Favorite Songs
untitled 06 | 06.30.2014.

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