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Analysis - 'Section.80' by Kendrick Lamar.
'Section.80' by Kendrick Lamar.

'Section.80' is seen as Kendrick's first break-through commercial album. In my opinion, I have seen each of his albums (now standing at four) to consecutively get better, smarter, and more detailed with each one. However with this being his first one, it is still marvelously detailed and nuanced, and to this day a personal favorite of mine...

Let me start by saying that this project is extremely intoxicating and quite the narrative journey. When I say it is intoxicating, I don't mean that it's vapid or has a substance-driven theme, but rather that it is intellectually stimulating. It starts off with the ear-worm opener song 'F*ck Your Ethnicity'. Of which the song's intro reveals to us a man speaking to a crowd surrounding a crackling fire, which I found to instantly set the tone for the album to come, a somewhat more nocturnal and bone-chilling mood. After the man declares to the crowd: "F*ck your ethnicity", it is followed by an eerie piano intro, which soon turns into a bit more lavish melody as the song progresses; meanwhile Kendrick delivers effortless flow after flow of lyrics paired with a beautiful instrumental. This song is only a mere taste of the overall lyrical and instrumental genius that the rest of the track-listing offers. 

Two more of the earlier tracks on the record; 'A.D.H.D.' and 'No Make-Up (Her Vice)' give me goosebumps and make the hairs on my arms and neck stand up nearly every time I hear them. Of which the latter of those two songs I found had somewhat of a deep message; Kendrick raps about societal norm women see (or more specifically the woman he is referencing in the song) regarding having to have make-up, or possibly even the obsession or compulsive need to have it on (as hinted at in the 'Her Vice' part of the song's title), and how he believes true beauty lies behind the cosmetics. He beautifully states that message in the lines: "I love your smile, you can do it without style, from your lips all the way to your eyebrows. It's the beauty in her, but when the make-up occur, I don't see it; all I see is a blur." Yet again I affirm, the detail that Kendrick implements into his lyrics, song by song only progressively gets better and I believe become sincerely thought-provoking on this album as the tracks proceed.

The clean production, engaging instrumentals, and overall aesthetic of this project consistently keep up a subconscious, mysterious, and at times spacey energy throughout. Keeping in mind that when those aspects are paired with the narrative and story-telling ability Kendrick has, due to his incredible detail and thought put into his lyrics, it makes for a truly special and memorable album.

Even if you are not a fan of rap, or are just now getting into the genre, I can't recommend this album enough. It would be a perfect starter album to the genre, and more specifically to Kendrick Lamar, the artist himself. 'Section.80' is only the first major example in hip-hop of what I believe to be a truly artful and intellectual undertaking. 


Here is a track from the album which I highly recommend listening to:

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