Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered. (Top Dawg, 2016)
For a series of outtakes, Kendrick Lamar’s untitled unmastered. is remarkably assured. Recorded sometime during the To Pimp a Butterfly sessions, Lamar explores similar themes while embracing an almost suffocatingly moody backdrop of jazz rap instrumentals and experimental form. “untitled 02” features hauntingly disembodied vocals from the rapper, its instrumental rattling with an absolutely guttural bass hum. Most impressively, untitled unmastered. showcases an incredibly diverse array of sounds; “untitled 06” expertly utilizes Cee Lo Green over a soulful Ali Shaheed Muhammad-produced beat while “untitled 07” fuses jazz and trap rap stylings to stunning effect. It’s yet more proof that Lamar is truly in a league of his own. If anything, untitled unmastered. just makes Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo, a purportedly finished product of scattershot mixtape-like quality, look worse for wear.
Trial Track: “untitled 06 | 06.30.2014.”