Kendrick Lamar’s debut the Kendrick Lamar EP left an indelible impression on Hip-Hop aficionados.
The type of lyricism that was put forth wowed even the most critical of music enthusiasts.
His style was crisp, unapologetic and honest.
Even on his following release, Overly Dedicated, the California native showed progression while finding a medium between the discerning “Ignorance Is Bliss” and higher spirited “Michael Jordan.”
Identifying himself as “the good kid from Compton, Kendrick has never shied away from openly expressing his views on life, religion or society, which he showcased early on over records such as “Faith.”
I found myself losing focus at a Sunday service/ Embarrassed so I start questioning God, “What is my purpose?”
Section.80 takes Kendrick’s worldly conscious to new heights, but don’t be quick to label him as a “conscious artist,” which he clarifies against in “Ab-Souls Outro.”
I’m not the next pop star, I’m not the next socially aware rapper…I am a human motherf**cking being over dope a** instrumentation.
Through the entire work, Kendrick makes it clear he is not a mission to become anything but legendary, and spread truth and knowledge through his storytelling style of rhyming.
The MC’s growth on Section.80 is apparent.
His overall sound has matured, with the vivid, stadium-like production making this composition sound and feel more like an album in comparison to his previous releases.
The entire piece was carefully constructed, with a cohesive transition between each song.
The narration and skits (“Chapter Six” and “Chapter Ten”) added a necessary touch to make the coherence possible.
The guest features on this album are limited, which was a wise move for the album.
To really decipher the greater meaning behind the work, however multiple listens are a must.
This could serve as a downfall for those wanting a lighter listen reminiscent of past songs like “Celebration” or the aforementioned “Michael Jordan.”
To be fair though, those type of records may not flowed as well considering the direction that was taken with this project.
Kendrick’s ability to encourage a better lifestyle, while maintaining respect and credibility is uncanny.
In “No Make-Up” he describes the beauty of a clean faced woman, and towards the end of the song repeatedly states,
“You ain’t got to get drunk to have fun.”
He acknowledges this skill just before the closing track,
“See a lot of y’all don’t understand Kendrick Lamar because you wonder how I can talk about money, hoes, clothes, God and history all in the same sentence. Do you know what all those things have in common? All they have are the truth.”
This statement appropriately transitions into the final cut on the album, “Hiiipower.”
One of the stand out cuts on Section.80, it also held the heaviest message, which easily could have slipped by listeners caught up in the hypnotizing bassline.
For the most part, Kendrick speaks in simple terms that are straightforward and understandable.
Most likely though, there is an underlying message or double entendre that will show itself the second or third time around.
Other messages won’t be as obvious like in “Ab-Souls Outro,” where his label mate references the obstruction of the pineal gland when using toothpaste. Huh? Yes, exactly.
Section.80 makes a powerful statement to people from all walks of life.
In every song, Kendrick Lamar paints an intense picture for us with his words, just as an artist should.
It’s the sort of work that makes you wonder, How could he possibly outdo himself again? But we can rest assured that he will.