King Kendrick still reigns with new surprise release


The “untitled unmastered.” album cover

March 4, 2016, saw Kendrick Lamar hit the hip-hop world upside the head with a surprise back hand.

2015 was a huge year for music, and for the hip-hop genre in general as we saw albums from Drake, Future, Logic, Big Sean, and Dr. Dre. Among all the releases, one stands out as the “Best Rap Album” according to the Grammy’s and the best album of the year hands down in my opinion.

Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly” dropped officially on March 15, 2015. History was made that day as critics and fans started to recognize the album for the powerful, cultural masterpiece it was. Driven by a battle with oppression, the artist captured his internal conflicts with abandonment issues, what to do with his growing amount of power, and his other issues in sixteen tracks arranged like a story.

From creating a 21st century Civil Rights hymn in the song “Alright”, to his controversial Grammy’s performance, the impact Lamar has made on the world this past year goes without saying.

“So how do you follow up one of the best hip-hop albums ever?”

That was the question I asked myself when thinking about the topic. But on a random Friday in March, he gave everyone the answer: a raw version of the songs that didn’t make the cut. Lamar released “untitled unmastered.”

It’s unlike any other collection we’ve seen before. The songs have little editing, and no name as each one has the word “Untitled”, followed by a number and a date. Personally speaking, waking up to news of more music by Kendrick Lamar resembled Christmas morning. 

The Compton-born rapper maintained to lyricize about prominent subjects, using bible metaphors that resemble present day events. He rapped about oppression, paranoia, success leading to dissatisfaction, and more.

A majority of the songs contain the phrase, “Pimp, pimp, hooray!” Possibly representing the album being a victory lap given the success of To Pimp A Butterfly.

There may be no radio hits, as a lot of Lamar’s material is either what I call “too real” to go mainstream or it’s too difficult for people to understand. Regardless, if some of the music will make the airwaves, Lamar’s fan base will still result in the album seeing the play button millions of times, and deservingly so.

According to, Lamar foreshadowed the “project” as he calls it just a bit.

“I got a chamber of material from the album (To Pimp A Butterfly) that I was in love where sample clearances or something as simple as a deadline kept it off the album,” Lamar said. “But I think probably close to ten songs that I’m in love with that I’ll still play and still perform that didn’t make the cut.”

I think that 2015 was a magical year for “King Kendrick” and this is just a taste of more to come in 2016. He continues to satisfy hip-hop lovers with superior lyricism, while introducing new ideas through his words.

If Lamar and fellow artist J. Cole deliver the collaboration they promised fans back in early December, it’d be wildly popular merging two fan bases together and makes seismic waves through the music world.

In my opinion, Kendrick Lamar is the best artist in hip-hop and after this release, it’s extremely difficult to argue against it.