Kendrick Lamar 'untitled unmastered.' Album Message Is About Society At Large
Despite the unforeseen surprise release of Kendrick Lamar's latest album, untitled unmastered. , there's actually nothing random about it's eight-song track list. In fact, with each song remaining untitled and being produced over the span of a three year period (2013-2016), each lyric still manages to abide by one core message: The effects of the ways in which art and culture transcend through the world we live in today. Not only does Kendrick's latest album state his sheer ability to make magic out of what is apparently his leftover, unreleased material from To Pimp A Butterfly, but he is using the messages within the song lyrics themselves — and in the way in which he went about dropping untitled unmastered. — to shed light on the bigger picture. Basically, from here on out, music should always be this raw and unmastered.
However, it's not the precise ways in which Kendrick went about producing and releasing the album alone that emphasize the flow of otherwise overproduced and overthought art we encounter today. It's in the lyrics itself that he turns toward specific examples of the sense of miscommunication and lack of control over what receives proper recognition. Let me just break this down a little bit more specifically.
Starting off with the first track, "untitled 01 08.19.2014." Kendrick is setting up the album with a dark look into society today and the loss of the music itself — including references to everything from poverty to racism to religion. And it all comes into perspective more clearly towards the song's conclusion:
Always camaraderie, I can see, our days been numberedRevelation greatest as we hearing the last trumpetAll man, child, woman, life completely went in reverseI guess I'm running in place trying to make it to church
However, the message doesn't seem to end there. "untitled 02 06.23.2014." continues with yet another reference to the events of 9/11, calls for the acknowledgement of black culture, and calls for us to, very specifically, "Get God on the phone." Then as you make your way into listening to "untitled 03 05. 28.2013.," the familiar themes from To Pimp A Butterfly of negative stereotypes and issues surrounding race are brought into the limelight once again.
And it's not just themes of negativity that are being brought into the forefront throughout untitled unmastered. The tone of the album then seems to switch over from a state of loss and despair to one of light-hearted recognition, making the overall album a homage to not only the different styles of music and black culture that he alludes to in each track, but also strategically paralleling the past with the day to day trials and tribulations in order to call for recognition.
Deep stuff, right? Moral of the story: Kendrick Lamar's artistry is unparalleled. And great art doesn't need all of the unnecessary build-up of marketing and post-production that other artists rely on to get the recognition it deserves.