Posts Tagged ‘Kendrick Lamar’

Kendrick Lamar | #ToPimpAButterfly #AlbumReview

Friday, March 20th, 2015

by Writing Battle Rap History

Writing Battle Rap History Logo







To Pimp a Butterfly album cover

To Pimp a Butterfly album cover

Album Rating System:  5 out of 5 records

Image    Image Image ImageImage

This dick ain’t free,” is a gender bending, emphatic statement, that should be the mantra for black male youth growing up in a hyper-sexual society, where Kendrick Lamar redefines black masculinity on “For Free,” the second track on his second studio album, To Pimp A Butterfly. I don’t know if redefining black masculinity is on purpose or if it is by virtue of his conscious subject matter, but in TPAB Kendrick tackles social issues of the hood – manhood, love, sex, religion, mental illness, self-esteem and gang-banging, with a stream of effortless maturity. Either way – damn, this album is a breath of fresh air!

Kendrick’s maturity is not only a by-product of his upbringing but also of his spirituality. If you were to put a mirror up to the new faces of Christianity those faces may have a different look, especially with regard to perspective. It’s a perspective that is as simple as Kendrick talking about self love in “i” but as complicated as loving and hating the same person in “u”, or how he can be enraged and want to unify the black community at the same time in “The Blacker the Berry.” This may seem like truckload of contradictions but it is actually an honest and transparent look at what a human being looks like.

King Kendrick

King Kendrick








I’m sure if we examined Kendrick’s heart among all the brilliant things there would be to study love would stand out. This kid’s heart is massively suffocating. He possesses a true love for black people, especially his Compton family. Though on the outset he abhors his homies’ gangster lifestyle, his affections for them are made clear on his album cover – Kendrick loves his niggas and truly wants to see them do well. The same love and respect he has for his homies he has for women, too. In “Complexion” he raps “Beauty is what you make it, I used to be so mistaken/By different shades of faces/Then wit told me, “A woman is woman, love the creation”/It all came from God then you was my conformation/I came to where you reside/And looked around to see sights for sore eyes/Let the Willie Lynch theory reverse a million times with…”

If I didn’t know any better the production on the TPAB sounded like Dr. Dre was operating in the spirit of Rico Wade, 1/3 of the Atlanta production team Organized Noize who produced albums for OutKast and Goodie Mob. This isn’t a slight to Dre, as I think this is arguably some of his best work to date, but the funk-jazz infused Hip Hop is sonically similar to Aquemini. The main difference in the production is the use of Be Bop jazz interpolations dispersed throughout TPAB in arrythmic patterns that plays up the coffee shop poetry feel. And of course, in Dr. Dre fashion, he tells a lengthy story that connects every song together in perfect succession.

The last song “Mortal Man” sums up the album. “Mortal Man” is riveting because toward the end of the song Kendrick has a conversation with Tupac Shakur, posthumously, of course, but carefully using excerpts of Tupac’s interviews creates a chilling dialogue between the two. After the two share their outlooks on life Kendrick pulls out a poem he wants to read to ‘Pac about the metaphor of the caterpillar and the butterfly. He explains it beautifully and then asks for ’Pac’s perspective, to which Pac doesn’t answer. The album ends with Kendrick saying, “Pac! Pac! Pac!” Some may see this as Kendrick being a Tupac incarnate but I think that Kendrick’s ideas on black emancipation are a bit more mature than Tupac’s. Tupac’s warrior-like passion is rooted in a kill-or-be-killed mentality, whereas Kendrick’s passions are rooted more in his love for God. If anything Kendrick Lamar is an evolved Tupac, and Pac’s silence is a clear indication that the torch has been passed.

TPAB download here —->

© Copyright Eddie Savoy Bailey III, 2015

Written by: Eddie Bailey of The Savoy Media Group

Twitter @SavoyMediaGroup




HipHop Bars 2 Beats 4 Reviews: YG – My Krazy Life

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

by A. Pierre


Is this the 2014 Doggystyle?

Is this the 2014 Doggystyle?

In 2013, the now 24-year-old YG was pushed into the mainstream after his lead single “My N***” featuring Young Jeezy and Rich Homie Quan took off in the clubs, streets, and then consequently moving up the Billboard charts. The young Compton MC signed to the Young Jeezy led CTE World Label with aspirations of being the next superstar artist and continuing the recent trend of West Coast success. While coming from the streets of Compton and living a life filled with gang-related street life and drama, YG comes from relative obscurity to now having a few notable hits released, including “My N***”, “Left Right”, and “Who Do You Love” ft. Drake; while also having a surprisingly strong debut album. The overall vibe of YG’s debut album “My Krazy Life” probably has the most resemblance to the West Coast’s gangsta rap golden era of the early to mid 90′s then any of the new artist that have hit the scene and had some success in the last few years. One album in particular that it probably has its closest parallel from 1993 to 2014 is “Doggystyle”. Is YG’s debut album the 2014 version of Snoop Dogg’s 90′s classic album “Doggystyle”? It sure has at least some elements that could give fans a similar feeling and bounce to it, but lets break it down a little.

When Snoop Dogg released his critically acclaimed “Doggystyle” in November of 1993, it produced monster hits along with a continuation of Dr Dre’s G-Funk influenced production and bounce that had the parties jumping. At that time it almost felt like sonically “Doggystyle” was a part 2 to Dre’s own album released a year before “The Chronic”. That album along with “Doggystyle” pushed the then 22-year-old Snoop Dogg into superstar status, and cemented Dr Dre as a molder of careers. As we jump into 2014, Producer DJ Mustard acts as YG’s right hand man as was Dr Dre to Snoop Dogg. On “My Krazy Life”, DJ Mustard does not dominate the production as completely as Dre did for Snoop Dogg however his role and influence on YG’s recent offering and his imprint on the MC’s career progression are almost as crucial.

On the first 4 songs of the albums, (“BPT”, “I Just Wanna Party”, “Left Right”, “Bicken Back Being Bool”) DJ Mustard handles the production, setting the tone for the rest of the album. Sonically the album isn’t exactly of the Dr Dre G-Funk variety however nonetheless DJ Mustard provides YG with a backdrop that is throwback West Coast to its core. DJ Mustard’s bass lines have that riding in your car down the road on the highway, with nowhere important to go, with the windows rolled down, with the music blasting through your speakers feel to them. This isn’t really an album that you sit down in your house on a peaceful day with your IPOD and headphones and critically listen to. It’s the type of album similar to “Doggstyle” where you just simply enjoy the ride and groove to the piercing beats that are used as the backdrop and soundtrack to the stories of a day in the life of a young man navigating through the ups and downs of a day in the hood, where anything can happen while also complicated by gang affiliation.

One example of YG breaking down his mentality one fateful night is on the 1st verse on “1Am” where he raps…

“It was 1 in the mornin’ and I was up yawnin’
Moms asked where I’m goin’, to the hood if you ain’t knowin’
Pops locked up so mama couldn’t stop me
I was out the house, ASAP Rocky
And it wasn’t cause she couldn’t control us
We was her babies, she just wanted to hold us
And we ain’t get disciplined, her friend started whisperin’
About how she was a bad mama, mama said “fuck ‘em then”
I was in the streets stylin’, nobody could tell me nothin’
Grandpa or grandma, not my auntie or my favorite cousin I was buzzin’
Fuckin’ all these hoes wearing no condoms, no nothin’
I used to ditch school when the homie had the Chevy
I used to sneak and smoke stress weed”

Throughout the album YG basically strolls through a day in the life of his experiences in Compton; from the leadoff “BPT”, to the robbery “Meet The Flockers”, to love lost on “Me & My Bitch”, to reckless behavior on “1AM” and “Thank God”, to feelings of sorrow and regret on “Sorry Momma”. The album overall is quite consistent from track to track, in “Do It To Ya” which contains interpolations of the Dogg Pound’s 90′s hit “Lets Play House” is not as dope as Dogg Pound’s original version but still a winner, however one of the best tracks on the album is arguably “Really Be (Smokin N Drinkin)” featuring Kendrick lamar. Unfortunately for YG the guest appearance by Kendrick Steals the show with his flow, emotion and lyrics.

On the 3rd verse of “Really Be (Smokin N Drinkin)” Kendrick raps…

“I swear this industry shit, to me is one big ass lick
I walk inside of a buildin’, tell the A&R nigga strip
Tell ‘em I need all of my chips, my life been on Section 8
I’ve been a welfare case, AFDC pump fake
Meanwhile I’m grindin’ cause drug money ain’t like rap money
Four white kilo snow bunny, equal one whole show, dummy
I’m on this tour bus and I’m fucked up, I got a bad call
They killed Braze, they killed Chad, my big homie Pup
Puppy eyes in my face, bruh, and I’ve really been drinkin’
Muthafucka, I really been smokin’, what the fuck? I’m the sober one
Man, I’m so stressed out, I can’t focus
Hide out when I ride out, ski mask with the eyes out
Speed past in the Cutlass, me and little Ocho
Every young nigga hop out, 2 tears in a bucket
I feel like “fuck it”, the price of fame, recognize my pain, that’s all I know
All out war, but I’m out here though, call my troops like “vamonos”
I’m on this tour bus and I’m fucked up, I got a bad call, and it’s all bad
Off OG with my OG and some OE, by the tall glass”

On that note, here lies the general downfall if a person were to ponder whether “My Krazy Life” can be compared to any acclaimed album, even one in the same vein as Snoop’s “Doggystyle”, it’s the difference between elite MC’s, good MC’s, average MC’s and the “how did you get a deal” guys. Whats that? well its the actual MC-ing the rapping, the formation of words that creates the verses and bars that communicate the message or picture you are attempting to convey. Now I’m not saying that “Doggystyle” was some lyrical masterpiece or even high level rapping lyrics-wise or that YG’s rapping is bad, it’s more so the fact that when you’re not a great wordsmith the only way you can elevate your overall music to great or classic status is you must create music that not only has great production, concepts, and consistent dope tracks from start to finish, but also evoke either the proper passion or clarity musically on your album that paints a vivid picture to the listener at an elite level. While YG does a solid job at that, it’s not to the point where it supersedes the oh so many mediocre and below verses throughout the album.

While “My Krazy Life” is pretty consistent with excellent production, the album overall is obviously not up to the level of Snoop Dogg’s seminal classic “Doggystyle”. Which is definitely not a knock on YG’s album, which is still a quality product but there is a strong gap between YG’s Debut and Snoop’s multi-platinum debut which continued the sound of  Dre’s “The Chronic”, which changed the game. So all in all YG still released one of the better mainstream albums of 2014, and continued the West Coast’s reemergence on the national scene. #HaitianJack

YG –  “My Krazy Life” (Released March 2014)

Bars:   Beats: XXL   Music: XL    Report Card: B

A. Pierre of HipHop Bars 2 Beats 4 Reviews, for War Room Sports

HipHop Bars 2 Beats 4 Reviews: ScHoolBoy Q – Oxymoron – 2014

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

by A. Pierre


Ever since TDE’s Black Hippy Crew started bubbling right under the national scene in 2010, their rise hasn’t been meteoric but it has been on a gradual upswing. The pinnacle of that hype machine has happened within the last 18-24 months or so with Kendrick Lamar’s critically acclaimed “Good Kid, MAAd City”, then TDE’s BET Cypher exposure last year. For the most part TDE holds the general distinction as a crew of super lyrical MC’s, well that is not necessarily the case. Case and point is Schoolboy Q who is not a bum, but probably the least lyrical of the bunch.

However there’s a reason why SchoolBoy Q’s album was next up and ready with quality singles and a legit buzz before every other artist on the label outside of Kendrick Lamar. The thing about SchoolBoy Q, he is…… for the lack of a better word so to speak, has that “Method Man of Wu-Tang” vibe to him. What do I mean by that? Well, like Method Man, he isn’t the most lyrical MC of the crew nor was he arguably even in the top 4 or 5, however he had that star appeal to him in his music. The ability to mesh the balance between rhymes that connect to the streets with rhymes and music that connect to the club and radio masses.

Not to pigeonhole Q, but with all that being said, the foundation of ScHoolBoy Q as an artist is one of a West Coast gang-related gangsta rapper. On the Sounwave produced “Hoover Street”, ScHoolBoy Q takes us down his memory lane on some of the harsh realities of his childhood. On the track Q raps…

Verse 1:
“Find a nigga realer than me, my socks stink/
Eat so much pussy that my mustache pink/
Strapping, my pants seam, no need for a belt/
Gangsta lean help, hoodie on backwards with the eyes cut out/
My hate felt, my .45 elder, poetry’s deep/
I never fail ya, Schoolboy bust flame/
Orange-yellow, higher than Margielas/
Since a young nigga I admired the crack sellers, seen my uncle steal/
From his mother, now that’s the money that I’m talking ’bout/
Think about it, the smoker ain’t got shit and everyday he still get a hit/
Whether jacking radios or sucking dick/
Sell his kids and chop his wrists and sealing his lips
Cause he don’t want the feds arresting his fix, didn’t take much/
To get me convinced, coincidence that I ain’t fucking with work/
Unless we rewind and answer my church/
Times getting harder than my d*** on a growth spurt/
Around the same time all you niggas was on purp/
My sober ass was snatching her purse, make the ice cream truck freeze/
Give me the keys, extra Fritos, chili and cheese/
Threw some Baby Lucas in his eyes before I leave/
The cops’ll never get the lead, grandma taught me well/
And my uncle gun was the accessories, 211 sipping plus a robbery/
This little piggy went to market, this little piggy carry chrome”

Verse 2:
“Grandma said she loved me, I told her I loved her more/
She always got me things that we couldn’t afford/
The new Js and Tommy Hill in my drawers/
Sega Genesis, Nintendo 64, see Golden Eye was away at war/
We wasn’t thinking of getting money then/
Nor did I wonder why my uncle done sold his Benz/
Cause he been tripping now, he sweats a lot and slimming down/
I also notice moms be locking doors when he around/
But anyways, he wife done left him and now he living with us/
My bike is missing, Grandma like to hide her check every month/
My uncle’s nuts, he used to give me whiskey to piss in cups/
Knocking on the door telling me to hurry up, he in a rush/
I gave it to him then got my ass whipped for doing it/
Moms used to tell me like, nigga, know who you dealing with/
Them was the good days ’til I was raised the older ways/
Rat-Tone my nigga’s brother showed me my first K/
I was amazed, me and Floyd was in the back, he called us over like, hey/
YAWK, YAWK, YAWK, YAWK! We like, damn, nigga/
Then again, YAWK, YAWK! We like, damn, nigga/
Hearing him say cuz turned us to a fan, nigga/
Later on he got locked so know we’re taking his fades/
Continue the chapter from his life, we flipping that page/
Gangbanging was a ritual and Grandma would help/
She should’ve never left her gun on the shelf/
This little piggy went to market, this little piggy carry chrome”

Throughout “Oxymoron”, ScHoolboy Q displays his ability to craft high-energy head nodding tracks. I wouldn’t call the various producers who handled the boards for the album a “super team”, however the production overall is top notch. There’s bangers everywhere on this album, from the opening track “Gangsta”, to “Collard Greens” ft. Kendrick Lamar, to the 2Chainz assisted “What They Want”, to the grooved-out “Studio”, to the melodic backdrop on “Hell Of A Night”, to the trunk-rattling close out track “Man Of The Year”. With all the repeat value on various tracks throughout Oxymoron, it is still far from flawless.

The main thing that holds the album back from manifesting to what it could have been is ScHoolboy Q’s rapping on a majority of the album, ranging from solid to average on more than half of the songs. I think part of that may be due to the subject matter on a third of the songs. Most of the time a club sounding track will not require high level rapping, and can for the most part, unless done right will throw the song off. There’s a reason why you won’t hear or find many great club-banger type tracks from the Canibus, Crooked I, Terminology, Kool G Rap type MC’s of the world. Sometimes the bars and music don’t fit, and there’s an art and science to making that work with superb bars like some of the all-time great MC’s have done, like a Biggie or Jay-Z. Q, similar to Method Man in respect to Wu-Tang, ScHoolboy Q may be in the bottom half of the TDE totem pole as far as bars are concerned, however he arguably has the most star quality and the best single crafting ability that can appeal to different Hip-Hop sectors. Not saying that he will sell a ton of records or will ever become a bigger star than Kendrick, but his ability to craft dope singles that appeal to the masses is on par with K.Dot and above everyone else thus far on TDE. Overall “Oxymoron” has enough standouts and cohesion in its 12 song offering to be considered a solid to good album, and another positive notch for the entire West Coast and TDE in the past few years.  #HaitianJack

Scores:  Oxymoron (2014)

Bars: M         Beats: XL        Music: XL         Report Card: B-

A. Pierre of HipHop Bars 2 Beats 4 Reviews, for War Room Sports