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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kendrick Lamar's Debut is One of the Most Important Hip-Hop Albums of Our Era

Posted By on Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 5:09 AM

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I had this thought and pondered on it for a while because let's face it, today people are quick to label a body of music as a classic prematurely. In the case of K.Dot, I don't believe this is what we're witnessing.

I think we're witnessing a legitimate case of the hype machine getting it right. He can rap better than the average rapper. The West Coast has had hot and cold spurts within the last decade. Aftermath Records has always been a stronghold for new talent and has offered us plenty of game-changing moments that have helped the genre evolve and create new careers.

You have, in this case, a rapper who started out as a fan favorite on the Internet getting signed by Dr. Dre to release an album that has brought life back into not only the West coast but possibly hip-hop as a whole for the current moment. I think it's often difficult for us as fans nowadays to realize when we are actually witnessing history in the making.

Kendrick has had a sea of underground releases that have helped emotionally attach his music to thousands of listeners. A few years ago, I bought Common's Like Water From Chocolate, rushed home shut my basement door and played the CD on repeat until my ears couldn't stand to hear any more music. At the time I had heard nothing like this body of music, and I can honestly say my life was changed by this album.

At the time I don't think I had heard Illmatic or Reasonable Doubt. Naturally, these albums were released years before LWFC, but I'm from a different generation and didn't hear these albums until my early adult years. Common's LWFC was a flawless body of music from one of the best rappers alive. It may not have received the credit it deserved because honestly certain fans from the older demographic were stuck on comparing it to the first time they heard their first piece of flawless music, and the feeling such a moment gave them when they were young. I think the timing, the energy, the moment, and the rapper himself have all combined to get it right this time. I feel like the Kendrick Lamar album is sending a message to the public at large.

As a rapper building a indie career myself, I often feel burned out by how hard it is to get hip-hop fans from a certain age bracket to get over it. You had the classics from Snoop, Jay-Z, Eminem, Nas and all the other greats. These guys are living legends. Nothing can be taken from them and the rappers of today should listen and learn from these men.

I continually study these artists and I am a proud student of theirs. But here's the reality check: At some point you have to open the doors and let new talent shine. or else this genre will continue to fade off and lack innovation. Deep down inside, I feel like if Kendrick's debut album doesn't get the credit it deserves then as a new rapper in the wings waiting to be introduced on the national level myself, there's no way my debut album will get the credit it deserves.

I am not saying my album will or won't be released on a platform as large as K.Dot's. I'm simply saying new music must be given a chance to have its respectable moments. Dead Prez's Lets Get Free was an instant classic in my mind. It didn't get the respect it deserved because the hype machine wanted to compare it to similar albums that were previously released from older artists.

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