Published Mar 08, 2016If To Pimp a Butterfly wasn't proof enough, untitled unmastered. is further proof that Kendrick Lamar has entered his art phase. He's just being weird now, and it's great.
untitled unmastered. is actually a set of raw demos from the Butterfly recording sessions, and runs the gamut from bouncy West Coast funk to bop jazz to harsh soundscapes. It also features a song produced by a five-year-old. (That would be "Untitled 07: 2014-2016," a sprawling, eight-minute opus that has a vaporwave beginning, a minimalist middle and a lo-fi guitar end. The five-year-old in question is Swizz Beats and Alicia Keys' son, Egypt.)
Lyrically, untitled has less of the fiery rage that fuelled Butterfly. That's not to say Kendrick isn't still mad — "Untitled 03: 05.28.20113" is as pissed off and topical as anything he's ever written — but he also gets both introspective and abstract and free associative.
All said, untitled unmastered. is a brilliant mini-album that stands well on its own, but it works even better as a fascinating To Pimp a Butterfly appendix, expanding on and balancing the themes of that album both sonically and lyrically. (TDE/Aftermath/Universal)