By Ross Figlerski
“You ever seen a newborn baby kill a grown man? / That’s an analogy for the way the world make me react / My innocence been dead / So the next time I talk about money, hoes, clothes, God, history all in the same sentence / Just know I meant it and you felt it.”
This line from the Kendrick Lamar song, “Ab-Souls Outro”, sums up his recent release pretty accurately. An album like “Section.80” is something few hip-hop artists accomplish during their careers: A record that remains impressive without being pretentious, poignant without being preachy, and has enough confidence and swag to win listeners over by the second track. The album is full of hooks and one-liners, yet is still able to remain introspective by touching on Lamar’s own personal failures, as well as those of his Regan-era generation. The songs connect with institutionalized oppression, nihilism, failed relationships, drug use, and spoken word pieces. The production is jazzy, ambient, and impressive throughout. Stand out tracks include: “Tammy’s Song”, “A.D.H.D”, and “Ab-Souls Outro.” If this album is an indication of where hip-hop is going in the near future, it is something to look forward to. This album is stellar, and should be required listening for real music and hip-hop fans alike.