Kendrick Lamar – DAMN Review

This is a charged listen that should appeal to everyone. Kendrick Lamar spins great stories with very poignant messages while keeping an entertaining edge.

The production is different from what is out there currently, with less emphasis on polish and more on dynamic impact. Each beat is effective at creating the atmosphere for the point of each track. Kendrick has already shown that he can make polished tracks and it is interesting to see that this was designed to be gritty and not so finessed.

The lyricism is obviously amazing and Kendrick Lamar uses his impressive wordplay skills to embellish his stories. Each bar is layered with meanings and every lyrical device is included. There are no issues here with a varied delivery, interesting flow and great rhymes.

The features are good because they help bring another level to the album with fresh voices. Each does a good job of adding a new flavour to the track they are on and aiding in making this project more cohesive. Some more rap guests could have made a few more interesting moments, but Kendrick does so well that others might have brought the quality down.

Overall, this is a truly great release and will only have commercial success. Kendrick Lamar is doing a lot to shape the youth and is doing it in a very effective way.

Schoolboy Q – Oxymoron Review

Oxymoron definitely has a street feel. The beat selection is great for Schoolboy Q’s sound and definitely has a grittier feel than the majority of radio stations would like, while the subject matter is far from made for Radio. The singles are ill-fitting to the album flow and it feels like the album loses momentum when you hit one of them. The singles are still great tracks but they don’t fit properly with the rest of the album.

It is a solid album for content although not ground-breaking, gang banging, drugs and sex are heavily featured. Not a lot that is overly sensitive but from listening to the whole thing you start to realise maybe this isn’t Schoolboy Q’s favourite area of music. Most if not all the tracks are head nodders and will keep you interested if you listen to the whole thing in one sitting. At 17 tracks, this is quite impressive as some albums tend to become repetitive and dull as you listen, but some well-placed features and interesting use of sounds keep the whole thing sounding new, even if it is a well-trodden path of subject matter.

Schoolboy Q seems to start out-of-place on a lot of tracks, until you let it run and find that his vocals fit in perfectly with the beat he has selected. He paints a vivid picture of sexual acts as well as the great deal he smokes up. On top of that, he has  a distinctive voice that makes him standout on these tracks and even others that he is featured on, for example see his features on Game’s OKE mixtape.

Overall, Oxymoron is a solid album for Schoolboy Q to put out, but it will be interesting to see where he will go on because more established artists than him have tried to keep going with the gangbanging angle and had their sales fall drastically, so unless he can make it his own, he may need to find a new way to tackle the music industry.

Oxymoron is available to purchase now on iTunes

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