Review Summary: everybody put three fingers in the airr. the sky is falling, the wind is calling, stand for something or die in the morning. Section 80, Hiii Power
Kendrick Lamar is a man of humble origins. Like many notorious west coast hip-hop artists, he grew up in Compton, California, citing DMX
as major influences. He claims the flow to his first mixtape, Youngest Head Nigga in Charge
, released in 2003 at the age of 16, was inspired by Jay-Z
. But 2Pac
has continually served as his major inspiration as Lamar claims a vision of Shakur coming into his dream with the message: “Keep doing what you’re doing, keep my music alive” inspired him to write much of Section 80
The diverse set of topics explored on Section 80
makes the album stand out immediately. Lamar goes from talking about political follies committed in the ‘80s in “Ronald Reagan Era” to the difficulty of being a kid growing up in the Ghetto in “Chapter Six” to the inner-conflict of a young woman in “Tammy’s Song” and “Keisha’s Song.” But beyond just exploring a wide array of motifs, Kendrick manages to rap on top of brass, electronics and simple percussion throughout, adapting seamlessly to beats that are telling a story all their own. Though at times this diversity disrupts the flow of the album, it shows clearly the maturity and talent of this young star.
Static filled intros to “F uck Your Ethnicity” and “Hiii Power” are sure to grip you and throw you directly into contagious beats that tickle your brain and get your heart pumping. In “Hiii Power”, the album’s lead single, Kendrick builds upon an incredible afrobeat intro from “Ab-souls Outro”, and empowers his listeners. He gives them the desire to seize the day and rise up strong against the things that make no sense. But the oft-ignored and sensual “No Make-Up” shows off a soft and caring side that is both incredibly catchy and melts my emotions into nothingness each time I hear it.
In August 2011, while onstage with Snoop Dogg
, Lamar was crowned the new king of west coast rap, and after hearing his track “Ignorance is Bliss”, off of his previous mixtape O(verly) D(edicated), Dr. Dre
was eager to collaborate with Kendrick. While Section 80
will be a difficult album to top, at 23 and with such an incredible network on top of the fact that he already possesses such maturity, Kendrick Lamar seems poised to be a major player in the rap industry in the years to come.