Kendrick Lamar – Section.80
Released: 2 July 2011
It’s been a while since I’ve heard a rap album that I felt held true to song structure and song quality & content. Section.80 does JUST THAT by providing a thematic overseeing theme back by individual songs, each with their own purpose and content.
There’s a story behind Section.80. That story reflects the Kendrick Lamar’s upbringing in the neighborhood of Compton, Los Angeles, California. But instead of painting a picture of Los Angeles through a gang point-of-view, as often portrayed in West Coast Hip-Hop, Kendrick instead tells his story by way of struggle. Hence the album’s name and its reference to Section 8 housing.
Fuck Your Ethnicity: 4/5
Hol’ Up: 5/5
No Make Up (Her Vice) (feat Colin Munroe): 4.75/5
Tammy’s Song (Her Evils): 5/5
Chapter Six: 5/5
Ronald Reagan Era (feat RZA): 5/5
Poe Man’s Dream (His Vice): 4.5/5
The Spiteful Chant: 5/5
Chapter Ten: 3.75/5
Keisha’s Song (Her Pain): 5/5
Kush & Corinthians: 4.75/5
Blow My High (Members Only): 5/5
Ab-Souls Intro: 5/5
Total: 4.78/5 (in other words, it’s damn near perfect).
Not much to say here. I usually never have much to say about the elite albums that I review, usually because there’s not much to nitpick at. I will say that Kendrick eerily reminds me of Tech N9ne early in this album – in his cadences, tone, and flows. Also, I love the drums on this album – especially on “Poe Man’s Dreams ft GLC“. To elongate this review, I’ll point out the three main strengths in this album.
- The production: The production as a whole isn’t outstanding, but Kendrick sounds comfortably at home on these beats, which is more important than picking a beat simply because it “bangs”.
- Structure: The peer sympathetic theme and vicarious, yet self introspective storytelling that takes place within Section.80 the story is not something you typically hear in rap albums because such a level of self-awareness is so hard to effectively convey and communicate to the listener, while still maintaining song and music quality.
- Lyrics/Subject Matter: Kendrick maintains strong subject matter (matching the theme of the album) and remains lyrical throughout. That’s a feat in and of itself that many of his peers struggle to accomplish.
All in all, this is a great album. Recommended to Hip-Hop fans of any sub-genre, because it explores content and self-awareness in ways the average Hip-Hop fan might not expect.
★★★★1/2 – ★★★★★: Stellar example of genre; peak potential.
★★★★★: Best in show; pinnacle release from an all-time great artist.
★★★★1/2: Stellar example of genre; peak potential.
★★★★: Excellent; recommended to all fans of artist or genre.
★★★1/2: Very good; a few bland songs or minor flaws throughout.
★★★: Good; fans of the artist will find value here.
★★1/2: Average; does little to establish the artist or maintain quality.
★★: Unexceptional; a few highlights but otherwise bland.
★1/2: Weak; unrecommended for anyone but major fans of the style and/or artist.
★: Seriously flawed; very poor work but relatively listenable.
1/2: Terrible; a true embarrassment and akin to audio masochism.