Touted as one of the strongest new voices coming from the West Coast, Kendrick Lamar just recently dropped his anticipated street album Section .80. After listening to this album, any skepticism about Kendrick’s skill level is put to rest fairly easily.
He raps like he was as much of a fan of Project Blowed as he was of Death Row; though the latter dominates his content, his style borrows much from the former. West Coast Godfather Dr. Dre has publicly announced his support of Kendrick Lamar, and the young MC has even mentioned that he has collaborated on the mythic Detox project.
The album sounds great, toeing the fine line between keeping the sound commercial enough to attract the average urban listener Kendrick is no doubt reaching out to, while keeping it interesting enough to keep the scrutinous hip-hop head satisfied. His Black Hippie cohorts, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, and Schoolboy Q, make appearances that make the most out of each of their best qualities. The Pimp C homage “Blow My High (Member’s Only)” is very well executed and fits surprisingly well in the project.
The album is not flawless though; the Colin Munroe track is a bit too pandering for my tastes, and I still think the much-hyped “HiiiPower” sounds a bit hollow and pseudo-political. Much more vivid and much less grandiose is the selection we’ve chosen to stream: “Ronald Reagan Era.” Here Kendrick does a great job at articulating the desperate rage that the actor-turned-President was responsible for creating in parts of L.A. and countless communities across the country.