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The ShortListen: Kendrick Lamar (no. 266)

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Who? Kendrick Lamar

What’s the story? A welcome surprise for Kendrick Lamar fans this morning as, without warning, a 'brand new album' appeared on iTunes, Spotify and the rest. Upon closer inspection, it's not, strictly-speaking, a Beyonce-style drop; rather, these are eight tracks that, for whatever reason, didn't quite make it onto his critically-acclaimed To Pimp a Butterfly album last year (reasons seemingly range from getting samples cleared to simple 'deadlines'). They're all untitled (and we presume unmastered, although they sound good) with each given a date between 2013 and 2016.

The whole thing is a nice reminder of just what an incredible job Lamar has done in getting this music - TMAB is, effectively, a jazz record with politically-charged and uncompromising lyrical material - to such a wide audience. There's a whole range of styles and eclectic sounds, nothing much in the way of choruses or hooks (although the Cee-Lo Green-featuring untitled 06 comes close), yet it's so distinctive and refreshing with proper jazz musicians doing their thing and Kendrick doing his over the top. For our money, you can't really beat his live performances - be they concerts or TV shows, but this is more material to get your teeth into over multiple listens.

For fans of: George Clinton, A$AP Rocky, Outkast

In three words: Companion album set

Click here for more ShortListens

Listen to all of them as they become available, on this Spotify Playlist

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