Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered


I won’t claim to be a rap/hip hop aficionado.

A cursory look at my iTunes reveals only 26 albums (and one of them is Kate Tempest so I hardly think that counts) in a collection of approaching 1,000 falling under either moniker.

But there’s enough there to make me think I like the stuff.

Kendrick Lamar entered the fray,proper, a few years ago with good kid, m.A.A.d city , an absolute nightmare of punctuation.  It completely escaped my attention, as did the now legendary To Pimp a Butterfly exactly a year ago.

Both of those short sighted mistakes have been rectified now and TPAB is rightly, IMHO, considered a stonewall classic album with a dizzying range of style, ideas and delivery.  If you haven’t heard it I recommend an investment.

Some compare it, and I think the comparison bears scrutiny, to Marvin Gaye’s seminal Let’s Get It On.  Indeed there are moments of pure soul throughout TPAB.

Then, in a Bowie-esque moment of anti-marketing, he let loose untitled unmastered on the world 2 weeks ago.

It’s an 8 track series of outtakes (b- sides?) from TPAB or at least work created at around the same time.

And, although I suspect it won’t dominate the Grammys in the way his last full Monty release did, it’s great.

No cover images, no track titles (like Sigur Ros’ ()) and, as the title suggests low on the uber-mastering that is found on TPAB but it’s nevertheless a similar political, religious, sexual, cultural trawl of life in modern day North America.

It’s just great songs, delivered well.

Pimp Pimp Hurray.

Kanye.  Take note.  This is how to do it.


Speech Debelle wins Mercury Prize


I went to the bookies tonight, not having listened to Speeche’s album but having a wee hunch she might win, even though she was an outsider.  Imagine my horror when I discovered that she had risen to second favourite to the unlikely favourite Florence and the Machine.  Anyway, my search for value meant I had to (stupidly) look elsewhere.

I alighted on Lisa Hannigan.

She lost.

So, I spotified Speech.

Bugger me.  What a lovely, really beautiful piece of music this album is.

I take it all back.  She should have been odds on.

Honesttly, it’s a stunning and totally engaging record.  It”s quite emotional.