King Kendrick Has Never Knelt

A look at the one of the greatest modern musical discographies

Photo by N/A – Creative Commons Kendrick Lamar is recognized as one the greatest artists of his generation. This has been the case for the past 10 years, ever since his breakout album good kid m.A.A.d. city.

It has been 10 years since Kendrick Lamar began to receive mainstream attention, and while he has seen many ups and downs since then, his music remains iconic. So, let’s take a look at what makes all the albums he has on streaming services so special.

8. “Overly Dedicated” – This album, while not being the worst album ever, is very lacking when it comes to bodies of work. With only a third of the tracklist being orthlistenable, the skill and creativity that Lamar would showcase later in his career is clearly stuck above the surface, underneath a cover of mediocre early 2010s rap music. “Ignorance is Bliss” stands out as an important benchmark for Kendrick’s rapping ability and ear for excellent instrumentation, but the rest of the project is entirely skippable.

7. “Black Panther Soundtrack” – Since this album is a soundtrack and not a project that Lamar had complete creative control over, a limitation on the quality is to be expected. Especially since one would not be surprised if Disney killed creativity to pursue a profit. But, the project actually has some merit even though it lacks compared to the other albums further down this list. “All the Stars” and “Black Panther” are the definite standouts with the latter deserving a place in the film.

6. “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers” – Kendrick’s newest entry in his discography may be the most vulnerable in his already very vulnerable discography. That does not mean that it properly compares with his earlier albums musically speaking. The stripped back production that is showcased on the album is very interesting but it does not even hold a candle to the other iconic music on this list. Although, “Father Time” and “Worldwide Steppers” showcase that even after a five year absence, Lamar could still put together a verse that crowned him the king of rap and touched the soul in a thousand ways at the same time.

5. “untitled unmastered.” – The B-Sides Kendrick album that makes fans desperately hope that he will release a new one, especially since they only got 19 new songs after five years. Anyway, though this is a loosely cobbled together collection of unfinished songs, this project somehow manages to have highs that rival the entries further down this list. What is even worse, the complete artistry is lacking since the tracks are randomly put together and unfinished. “Untitled 01” and “Untitled 02” are the best songs and anyone who disagrees with that fact can argue with a wall.

4. “DAMN.” – This is where this list becomes hard to formulate since the albums that take up spots No. 3 and No. 4 are of the same quality and their placement is entirely up to personal preference. This album won a Pulitzer Prize and for very good reason since not only is it musically diverse and incredibly pleasing, but the writing on this project is some of the best that Lamar has ever done. “FEEL.,” “PRIDE.,” and “FEAR.” show why Kendrick is such a special talent with them being the greatest songs on the album by a long shot.

3. “Section.80” – This is one of the greatest comprehensive musical bodies of work I have ever heard, and Kendrick making it so early in his career makes it very special. This or “DAMN.” are about in the same tier of quality but this holds a special place in the hearts of many. From the relatable lyrics to the novel-like storytelling aspect, this album is well-built from top to bottom.

2. “good kid m.A.A.d. City” – In almost any other discography, this album would be No. 1, no question. This album defined a generation and skyrocketed Lamar to instant stardom for a reason and everyone that has heard the music understands why. From the jazz influences to the flourishes of West Coast hip-hop, this album is engineered to be a thrilling work of art deserving of the highest accolades.

1. “To Pimp A Butterfly” – Greatest album ever made. Argue with a wall. Should have beat “1989” at the Grammys. Go back to arguing with a wall. This album is perfection and no one can say otherwise. The entirety of the album’s 18 tracks are all perfect from beginning to end and not a second is wasted when it comes to crafting an experience that is once in a lifetime.

Lamar has made eight wonderful albums and is at no signs of decline, so let us hope that the next 10 years hold another crop of great projects that rival the work released in this decade. Until then, Kendrick has been an outstanding talent for years and deserves to be celebrated.