I’m not a hater, this is criticism. Let’s get that out the way off top.
I did not like this performance. There was no rhythm or vibe to it but this is where I’m at with Kendrick and that’s how I feel about his music.
Visually, it’s alright, and actually gets better after multiple views. I understand his message but he’s not about that.
The constant swings and transitions in his flow, delivery and production is to cater to the short attention span era, “Eminem style,” and like Nicki Minaj, is a bunch of theatrics. Theatrics I think that are used to mask his lyrical ability. He’s really not that deep with what he’s saying, and he’s definitely not rapping circles. I agree with Jay Electronica’s criticisms, and like Big Sean has stated, “he’s just rapping fast.” He has a very expressive delivery to keep the listener entertained and engaged resulting in the average listener to dig deeper like there must be something I’m missing. You’re not. He’s far from bad but my argument is that he’s not what he’s heralded to be. It’s excellent marketing and advertising on Aftermath/Interscope’s part. They can’t get GxFR to pop mainstream however. GxFr should’ve stayed indie, sidebar. Also, how did Westside Gunn manage to get a deal for his team but Top Dawg couldn’t bring TDE along with Kendrick and Schoolboy Q?
@ 2:16, he’s bowing down to the white man. Subliminal? Where’s that black power? Last Grammys, they let him run all over stage in chains, black men in prison, African, tribal stuff, but he couldn’t say, “and we hate popo,” on his track live. Where’s all the activism? Stir that shit up, “Hiiipower,” remember? Someone of a higher entity pulled that plug saying this wouldn’t be a good look. C’mon son. He be looking so soulless or maybe he’s just spineless. The label marketed him to be this and he’s not that. He’s no Tupac. Be that revolution you said on Section 80, “Hiiipower.” You can’t just leave it in the music it doesn’t work like that. If you’re about it then be about it and speak up.
Kanye is a revolutionary. He speaks what he lives. George Bush, Taylor Swift. He stood up about the state of music being too business/political and got burned for it. Joey Bada$$ recently tweeted about the state of music. He’s not a fan of it. To that I say quit complaining and do something. Nipsey Hussle is another example of someone looking to create change. Kendrick has the platform. Stir it up.
I have never heard a rapper so high up the food chain have so little quotables in his rhymes. People complain about not understanding mumble rappers but what is Kendrick really saying? I’m not asking for OD or Section80 Kendrick back because I understand progression but there’s a disconnect with the music since that time.
When GKMC dropped, I could tell from the production that the label pushed for mass appeal. That’s fine. They did the same with Pusha T on MNIMN. Expand your audience, I get it.
My final consensus on TPAB is that it’s really good, and I can recognize the greatness in it but I just don’t like it like that. I also understand that it may not be meant for me. It was something he made for him and his people. School said he was never the same since his trip to Africa and I understand that completely. I recently went to Vietnam and it just felt right.
Skipping Untitled Unmastered.
DAMN. On the original intro, not the reverse album, when listening to it, midway through I said please don’t let him get shot at the end. And sure enough. It is becoming too predictable which is Hollywood. Hollywood sells us the same story over and over. I could tell off top that this album would do well and reach a lot of people. It has that sound. The way Kendrick layered his vocals, beat transitions and features. This album is incredibly smart and strategic. The cover is a meme and the Loyalty video, where Rihanna puts her trust in him at the top of the building like the viral videos? The label was paying attention, researching and recording data.
Then DAMN released in reverse vinyl. First off, how did that rumor leak so quickly? When DAMN dropped, publications called him the GOAT all weekend and broke down the album instantly. Next thing you know it’s Monday and, “this album sounds better in reverse, was that his intent? What a genius.” Here comes the vinyl release. They’re just in it for the money, and I can’t hate on that but this is the disconnect I feel. All his moves are controlled by the label to make money. It’s not organic anymore it’s calculated. I see it all over his mainstream career. I believe TPAB is something he wanted to do, he had to do. Everything else, not so much.
I will end on this note. Schoolboy Q wishes TDE never signed with a major. Nothing against TDE or Interscope but his plan for his debut album, Oxymoron, was to have one single and pack the rest of the album with what he wanted, instead, the label wanted 3 singles which caused delays in his release. School said he doesn’t care about having his records on a 100 radio stations and shows regret wishing TDE would’ve stayed indie.
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