After being nominated for (and winning) more Grammies than any other artist last year for his album To Pimp a Butterfly, rapper Kendrick Lamar surprised the music world this week by releasing, with no promotion, a followup collection of demo recordings and song sketches. The new release, Untitled Unmastered, feels like an extension of last year’s hit album. All eight songs were seemingly written and recorded at the same time as To Pimp a Butterfly, so think of it as a B-sides collection that follows the same set of themes, religion, racial stereotyping, hometown pride, and the current U.S. political environment.
Untitled Unmastered isn’t as cohesive at To Pimp a Butterfly; it’s not for everyone, but it’s a revealing recording, especially for Kendrick fans looking for a more complete understanding of an idiosyncratic artist with little to prove but a lot to say.
Stream or download Untitled Unmastered now.