2011 in Review, best projects of the year: #2 Kendrick Lamar – Section.80

Artist: Kendrick Lamar

Album: Section.80

What. A. Debut.

Kendrick Lamar finally made his claim as one of the best west coast rappers. I had heard of Kendrick from his Overly Dedicated mixtape but damn did he make an impression on me. Section.80 was on of the best-produced albums of the year with most of the production being handled by Kendrick’s Top Dawg Ent.’s Sounwave and THC. It was also fueled with top-notch lyricism covering multiple topics. This is why Section.80 is the one of the best projects that came out in 2011 and is in my second spot of best albums of the year.

The album is beautiful, crafted very well. Kendrick shows off as a true rapper by touching multiple topics including drugs, politics, sexual abuse, etc. My favorite tracks off the album are “The Spiteful Chant” with Schoolboy Q, “Tammy’s Song (Her Evils)”, “Ronald Reagan Era”, “Poe Mans Dreams (His Vice)” with GLC, “Blow My High (Members Only)”, “Rigamortus”, “Hol’ Up”, and “HiiiPoWer”. That’s quite a handful of favorites. I like each song for different reasons and each song is different than the other. However, all the tracks on the album have something that I like whether it is the beat, the lyrics, or the subject matter.

Let’s start off with “Hol’ Up”. First of all, the beat is dope. A slow, soulful beat with incredibly slow-paced horns is amazing. The beat is the definition of smooth.  The lyrics in the song are about Kendrick describing himself and some of the past including living his twenties at two-years old implying that he had to grow up quickly or that he was wiser at a younger age than everyone else. Just like the hook says, “Big shit poppin’, everybody watching, when you do it like this nigga, losing ain’t an option”, yes Kendrick everyone is watching you right now because you are one of the dopest MCs out.

Out of all the tracks I listed above, “The Spiteful Chant” and “Blow My High (Members Only)” are my favorite favorites because they are catchy and the topics are simple and aren’t too hard to decode. In “The Spiteful Chant”, the topic is relative easy, with Kendrick just telling people he is going to blow up, similar to his good friend J. Cole’s track, “Blow Up”, while describing that there are too many niggas in the room which could be taken as the rap game being this room. Furthermore, in verse one, Kendrick speaks about his work ethic and his approach towards his music: “Everything I do is turelem (Hungarian for patience), I’ma take my time, I’ma master it, you should be mindful of a mastermind”. While in his second verse, he mentions that he wants to make it on his own even though he has receive all these co-signs from Dre, Snoop, Game, etc: “Everybody heard that I fuck with Dre and they wanna tell me I made it, nigga, I ain’t made shit, if he gave me a handout I’ma take his wrist and break it”, you should be this confident Kendrick, because YOU DON’T NEED A CO-SIGN, you’re that dope.

On my other favorite track, “Blow My High (Members Only)”, Kendrick declares that he can’t fuck with fake people because he isn’t a fake person; he is a real ass dude. The rest of the song is references to smoking weed. It starts off with the first bar of the first verse, “Taking off when you landing” meaning he is getting high while you are sobering up or coming down from your high.  Ending the verse with “give it up two times then give it right back, don’t blow my high” clearly saying to take two puffs and pass it, so he can continue getting high. What’s interesting about this song is that he pays tribute to Aaliyah by saying R.I.P., I guess Kendrick is so high he sees baby girl. On the second verse, Kendrick just destroys “bitch niggas” by telling them to do something with your life, get some ambition and stop being a “bitch.” The whole verse is quotable from “Get some ambition, why you bored? Time’ll never wait on no man, society will never hold your hand” to “wonder what’s behind them Ray Bans, eyes of a coward I understand”, do something with your life and stop hating, bitch.

Rigamortus” is just a lyrical onslaught! Kendrick just goes off. I don’t know how many bars he went off with but it is amazing. He even admits in the beginning of the track saying “He dead” referring to the listeners favorite rapper because Kendrick is too lyrical, your favorite rapper wouldn’t be able to respond to him.

On the soulful, “Poe Mans Dreams (His Vice)”, Kendrick talks about the bad side of growing up in hood describing how as a kid he wanted to be hood guy but after his uncle went to prison it change, and now, more than ever, he is determined to blow up to better his family’s life.  Kendrick also says that his tracks touch people as he describes what he sees and has been through, while declaring that he wants to better his dad’s life.

Thanks Kendrick, for such an amazing and dope debut album, you’re one of the few to make a near-classic, classic debut album.

*Throws three fingers in the air*

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