“The Next Big Rapper,” the highly anticipated debut album from Kendrick Lamar, is an impressive performance from a West Coast rapper that melds old school and new school rap into a new hybrid form. Not only does he live up to the album title, Lamar gives listeners music to consider and something music lovers have not heard in a while–a love at first listen, undeniable classic.
The title of “The Next Big Rapper” can be depicted in more than one way. The former rapper was touted as the next big thing, with witty wordplay and delivery that rocketed him to the forefront. However, soon after his debut album dropped, all the excitement and anticipation frizzled. While his career was on a downward spiral, Lamar continued to rap his sorrows and displayed his bitterness, but each album continued to falter and fail. Whereas his contemporaries not only lived up to the hype, but released one of the best solo album in hip hop history, and could be considered a storyteller for the ages in the rap world.
It could be said that Lamar created a conceptual album that resembles the Queens rapper’s second album “It Was Written.” From the first song to the last, the story progresses methodically–the kid surrounded by the gang life; the awkward life of crime that landed him in hot water with the law; the awareness that he is drowning in his own ignorance; and eventually, the realization that somehow he must find a way to escape his fate.
The album and artist stay true to life and connected to their world. For instance, “The Art of Peer Pressure,” a fantastic story of young Lamar committing a robbery out of allegiance to his crew. While tracks like “Swimming Pools” will reel music lovers in with lyrics that are placed on subtitles. There is social commentary accompanied by a sweet chorus. There is even a diatribe halfway through that deft ears will quickly catch and become fixated on, which helps to solidify Kendrick Lamar and “The Next Big Rapper” as music to consider.
Another element that makes “The Next Big Rapper” music to consider is its ability to distinguish itself. This album features many high points that will draw music lovers in and satisfy them. Listeners cannot help but pause for a second, reflect upon one’s self in light of his own adroit ruminations, and be swept away by the sheer magnitude of it all. The album is a compilation of several stories interwoven in one, all underscored with the theme of loss and the need to be remembered.
“The Next Big Rapper” is certainly music to consider. Lamar keeps it real and connected with raw emotion. If music lovers are looking for amazing lyricism, dizzying double and triple time flows, and slick stories, then look no further than “The Next Big Rapper.” If listeners are looking for the next rapper to carry the torch for this generation of newcomers, then look no further than Kendrick Lamar.
Review By Leigh Haugh