My iPod #541: Kendrick Lamar – Hood Politics

Released a week earlier than its initial confirmed date, Kendrick’s third album To Pimp a Butterfly sent everyone into meltdown. It was the end of an anticipation that had been building following the release of 2012’s good kid, m.A.A.D. city, his game-changing verse on Big Sean’s “Control” and some notable feature appearances. Despite the number of tweets that criticised the album because of the lack of bangers and the funk/jazz/soul influence throughout, there were the smart ones who were able to appreciate that it was, truly, the second coming (in the way that the album is his second major-label release).

“Hood Politics” is its tenth track. It starts with a funky beat that plays over a humourous phone message ‘skit’ before abruptly introducing its main instrumental, made by sampling Sufjan Stevens and producing a booming drum pattern that beats in time with Kendrick’s electrified rapping. The track is a message to those who think the rapper was forgetting his roots now that he had made a big name for himself, and in three verses the man respectively details life in the hood before commenting on the government’s effect on it and providing his views on the rap industry. Beware of another sudden beat change that comes from out of nowhere after the second verse, shit gets real.

To Pimp a Butterfly is an album that you have to process upon listening to it. I heard it on Spotify the day it unexpectedly arrived and found that I was unable to comprehend its greatness for a while. But it is an album that focuses on very important issues that force you to think whilst putting yourself in Kendrick’s perspective. “Hood Politics” is another deep cut on there that does just that, even its focus is on rap and none of the other bullshit.

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Author: Jamie Kyei Manteaw

An English student at Coventry University who spends most days listening to music (old and new) and reading and writing about it, however informal it may be. And studying too, obviously.

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