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INTERSCOPE

First thing's first, Kdot's the greatest rapper alive. Through the hype-heavy new school G-shit of "Good Kid M.A.A.d City", the politically charged 'Martin Luther King Jr meets Miles Davis at a cypher' stylings of "To Pimp A Butterfly" and the free-wheeling, string of consciousness expression of "Untitled Unmastered", the West Coast rapper has embarked on a creative period comparative to Stevie Wonder in the 70s. Not concerned with setting the bar at Olympic record heights, Kendrick follows the 'voice of a generation' vibe of "To Pimp A Butterfly" with a move straight out of the Bob Dylan playbook. Much like the folk great going electric and swapping the protest songs for personal reflections, Kendrick finds the middle ground between the hard hitting car bumpers of "GKMC" and societal rage of "TPAB" with a fourteen track examination of his place within contemporary America. Over a series of whip beating, bass heavy beats, Kendrick muses on religion, the media, whack rappers and relationships, inviting mega stars Rihanna and U2 along for the ride. Beyond the massive singles "Humble" (better than Drake's whole album) and "DNA" (FEAT. bowel emptying bass!) we get a faultless LP of diverse moods and themes, culminating in the sublime "Duckworth". Taking us back to the early 90s, Kdot explores a chance meeting between his father and TDE's Top Dawg, which could have resulted in Ducky's death, Top Dawg's prison sentence and no Kendrick. Chillingly deep yo.

TRACK LISTING

1. Blood
2. DNA
3. Yah
4. Element
5. Feel
6. Loyalty Ft. Rihanna
7. Pride
8. Humble
9. Lust
10. Love
11. Xxx Ft. U2
12. Fear
13. God
14. Duckworth

Rush-released due to Internet leakage, Kendrick Lamar's 'To Pimp A Butterfly arrives in double quick time. 

With Lamar's previous album, 'Good Kid M.A.A.d City', lauded as one of this fledgling Century's best, the level of expectation on its follow up was sky-high. How do you proceed after such a triple A-rated straight-up hip hop smash? Get afflicted by the (P)funk, that's how. Channelling the psychedelic stew of Parliament / Funkadelic, 'To Pimp A Butterfly' positions Lamar along the higher branches of rap's genre-busting evolution (see also The Roots’ 'Phrenology', Common’s 'Electric Circus', Q-Tip’s 'Kamaal the Abstract', André 3000’s 'The Love Below'). The expansive scope of Lamar's vision also runs to a live studio band featuring Robert Glasper, Flying Lotus' fretless bass maestro Thundercat and producer /sax player Terrace Martin, who add free jazz backing, pulling the music in another direction.

Lyrically the album walks in the footsteps of the socio-political commentary of Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye, but in the post-Ferguson era of continued police brutality towards African-Americans, Lamar's anger burns bright. Less 'What's Going On', more ' The Predator'. He offers a thoughtful and thought-provoking exploration of what it means to be a black man in America today, often introspective, but never naval-gazing.

Inspired and inspiring, 'To Pimp A Butterfly' is an adventurous and challenging album, and one that can be added to the essential hip hop list.


TRACK LISTING

1. Wesley's Theory Feat. George Clinton And Thundercat
2. For Free? (Interlude)
3. King Kunta
4. Institutionalized Feat. Bilal, Anna Wise, And Snoop Dogg
5. These Walls Feat. Bilal, Anna Wise, And Thundercat
6. U
7. Alright
8. For Sale? (Interlude)
9. Momma
10. Hood Politics
11. How Much A Dollar Cost Feat. James Fauntleroy And Ronald Isley
12. Complexion Feat. Rapsody
13. The Blacker The Berry Feat. Assassin
14. You Ain't Gotta Lie (Momma Said)
15. I
16. Mortal Man

Beck

Guerolito

    Beck hires his dream team to remix the entire "Guero" album. So Hansen favourites such as Air, Boards Of Canada, Homelife, John King (Dust Bros.), Adrock (Beastie Boys), El-P, Diplo, 8Bit, Octet, Islands, Dntel, Mario Caldato Jnr and more reinterpret tracks as they see fit, plus a few bonus extras such as live show fave "Clap Hands".

    Beck

    Guero

      "Guero" is already being heralded as one of Beck's finest albums and it sees a return to collaboration with producers The Dust Brothers (who last worked with him on "Odelay"). Gone are the melancholic acoustic vibes of "Sea Change", well mostly anyway - there is still some melancholy (and a few guitar twangs!) in amongst the "Odelay" style funky loose grooves, hip hop loops and samples. But don't think that this is by any means a step backwards, the reference points and influences on "Guero" are much wider and more refined than "Odelay" and the whole feel of the album is more cohesive. We love it!

      Unwritten Law

      Elva

        This sort of band must be ten a penny in the US at present, that's not to say Unwritten Law are bad - they're not, but compare them to another young band like 12 Stones (whose debut album is out this week) and they are just another bunch of also-rans.


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