By Kelen “B Hyphen” Conley
In today’s age where a new song hits the internet every few seconds, it’s hard for someone like me to pick favorites. When new music broke when I was younger, I had to catch everything through videos on MTV and BET. Other than that, I could only read about new music in The Source and it was even harder to track this music down before it was released to retail. The Napster age made things a little easier but it wasn’t until 2004 when virtually any song was available if you knew what you were doing.
With so much music coming out, I’ve always felt the need to just get the new stuff of my favorite artists instead of listening to everything. So while the younger crowd throws praise on A$AP Rocky, Machine Gun Kelly, and French Montana, I’m normally content getting new Kanye, Wale, and Joe Budden.
Enter Kendrick Lamar. While my friend Stephen Hoops insisted I give his album Section.80 a listen, I just added it to my Spotify playlists and said I would get to it when I could. The first time I heard Kendrick officially was on Game’s “The City”, the blistering opening cut from his 2011 album The R.E.D. Album. I slept on his stellar last verse though because I had thrown the album on while I did some other things around my room. My second exposure to Kendrick was on Drake’s “Buried Alive Interlude” featured on Take Care. While I recognized how unique the song was, I still wasn’t sold on why everyone thought Kendrick was so good.
After almost a year of driving around with satellite radio, I settled on Hip-Hop Nation as one of my presets. And “The City” was getting regular burn. Embarrassed by how I had ignored his verse’s dopeness, I quietly reveled every time the song reached it’s conclusion. I also vowed to listen to Section.80, while checking out a few of the videos he had released such as “Rigamortis” and “HiiiPower” (produced by J. Cole).
I had heard how Kendrick had entered some sort of agreement with Dr. Dre. I didn’t investigate much because most things with Dre tend to not come to fruition (but that’s another article). I just assumed that whatever Kendrick was doing would lead to more good music, so I bided my time.
I saw “The Recipe” come across Rap Radar in April. I decided not to listen to it as I assumed it would be apart of Kendrick’s debut album when it was released (Good Kid, Mad City is scheduled to drop in October). After having too many albums spoiled from listening to single track leaks, I decided to avoid all new material that’s expected to come out with a full project. As much as I wanted to hear it, I waited.
And then it hit satellite radio. Hip-Hop Nation and WGCI out of Chicago added it to rotation shortly after it’s release and I was hypnotized. Backed by Scoop DeVille’s dreamy production, Dr. Dre incorporates a Lamar written quick flow that kicks the song off perfectly. Once you get to the “women, weed, and weather” chorus, you’re addicted. Kendrick’s flow is the icing on the cake.
I can’t help but get excited to hear this song. While it’s not focusing on the best content, it’s the one of the best summertime jams in recent memory. Even when you get to the large instrumental towards songs end, you’re almost thankful that Dre and Kendrick leave it blank for your enjoyment (unfortunately, a lot of rappers have decided to add their own verse. Twista excluded.).
I still haven’t listened to Section.80. I doubt Good Kid, Mad City actually drops in October. But it’s safe to say Kendrick Lamar broke through my music overloaded senses. All I can do is share the song and hope he does the same for you.