New album from Kendrick Lamar is instant classic, has strong message

People who know me, and even people who don’t know me but follow me on social media, know I’m a journalism and basketball nerd.

But only a few people know how much of music nerd I am, especially for hip hop. So for a guy who listens to music every day, 2014 was a bit of a sad year for me.

Yes, “Forest Hills Drive” came out, Common came out with “Nobody’s Smiling” and Isaiah Rashad caught my attention with “Cilvia Demo,” but let’s be real — it wasn’t a great year for hip hop.

In came 2015, when Joey Badass and Lupe Fiasco saved us all by releasing two great albums at the same time. Then Drake released his whatever you want to call it and I felt awful even downloading it on Spotify.

Big Sean had a really solid album in “Dark Sky Paradise,” but it wasn’t until Kendrick Lamar dropped “To Pimp a Butterfly” that I was satisfied with this year already.

Before I get into that album let’s call Kendrick Lamar what he is, the true savior of hip hop right now. I’ve been a Kendrick fan since “P&P 1.5” and from there he has impressed me more and more. “Section 80,” perfection, “Good kid, m.A.A.d city,” a classic, and some way somehow Kendrick outdid himself once again.

“To Pimp A Butterfly” is a legendary piece of work. From beginning to end it was an instant classic.

I could listen to the album all day everyday, but there are a few songs that really standout to me. Those being: “King Kunta,” “Alright,” “How Much a Dollar Cost” and

“Mortal Man.”

Mortal Man might be the best outro to any album I’ve ever heard. After the fourth song on his album, “Institutionalized,” he says a small excerpt from what I will call a poem. Kendrick doesn’t call it that, but for a lack of better words that’s what I will call it.

Anyway, Kendrick, after adding more to the poem after each song, says it all in “Mortal Man.” He follows that with a pieced together conversation with Tupac; that whole conversation gave me chills the first time I heard it. Any artist that can have the creativity to not only add excerpts of a poem at the end of each song and put together a conversation with Tupac has me.

Then there is the actual message Kendrick Lamar speaks about in his album. In past albums he spoke about his journey and his stories, but this time he spoke out about the culture.

Like all great artists, he didn’t care what the mainstream listeners thought, he went out and tore apart the entire culture that we live in. He even touched on the African-American community’s issues in his song “The Blacker the Berry.”

It’s funny — I was with a friend of mine this weekend and she asked me, “When do you think they will kill Kendrick?”

Her question caught me off guard; I hadn’t even thought about that. I replied saying “I don’t think it will happen. All of the artists know the good he is doing.”

I think that is too deep of a conversation for this column, but I will say that Kendrick is the best out right now. There is no comparison. He is a younger version of Lupe Fiasco, an artist who doesn’t care what anybody thinks.

I don’t know how Kendrick will do it, but I’m sure he will one up himself again when it is time for his next album to come out.

Let’s just hope it doesn’t take two years this time, because I can’t take a drought that long again.