Album Review: O(verly) D(edicated) by Kendrick Lamar

Posted: June 20, 2011 by eptarheels23 in Album Review, Music
Tags: , , , , ,

Courtesy of hiphopisdream.com

In late 2009, Kendrick Lamar (formally KDot) gave us the Kendrick Lamar EP. It was a solid representation of what to expect from this up and comer out of Compton and garnered acclaim from the online music world. With stand outs such as Is It Love and P & P, it was a hit. Kendrick Lamar has been tearing up the music industry and his release of O(verly) D(edicated) solidifies him as one the leading MC’s to bring the West Coast back to the promised land. OD has been on rotation for about 10 months now with about 1,652 total plays. Let me state that this is possibly my favorite album of the year, and that’s saying a lot with releases from artists such as Kanye West, T.I., Eminem, Drake and Rick Ross. The album bangs from start to finish and the lyrics themselves have stories in them, but the beats on each track flow and in a sense tell a story. With that said, I highly recommend you just sit back and listen to this album and let the music wash over you.

1: The Heart, Pt. II (feat. Dash Snow) 5/5
Kendrick Lamar has stated several times that this is his favorite song on the album, and one of his favorite songs that he has ever done. The song starts off with an introduction from Dash Snow. This introduction explains Kendrick Lamar’s purpose of why he is the artist he is. He doesn’t believe in the forms of social institutions that institute social control. While he probably doesn’t just live off on bottles of water and Marlboro Red’s, music is the main source of why he is so motivated and still living to this very day. This is why he doesn’t affiliate himself in the gang life he could’ve easily taken in Compton. The beat on the song is real smooth and just makes you sit back and enjoy it all. This is really just an intro track to who Kendrick truly is. Such as how he lived a tough life, doesn’t want label executives making decisions for him, how no one truly knows him, and how he doesn’t like beefing with other rappers. Lyrically this track is a standout, but then again most Kendrick Lamar tracks are.

2: Growing Apart (To Get Closer) [feat. Jhené Aiko] 3.5/5
This is one of the only songs on here that are a pass to me. It’s about a relationship that Kendrick’s in that’s falling apart due to him gaining fame and not being there all the time. It’s deep in the thought of how he deals with the situation and what you would do. The beat is smooth and relaxing. It has some dope lines like, “off track like Dale Earnhardt” and “that’s what he said to me but that place we call Heaven is unfair to me, only 144 can go, seven billion people on planet Earth today, is there something that I don’t know?” Overall it’s a pretty good song on an album of amazing songs.

3: Night of the Living Junkies 4.5/5
Kendrick continues in the line of the smooth, soulful tracks and this one is a standout. The chorus says “this s**t is so dope, that you should be my crackhead”. As in the song is crack and you’re addicted to it. Kendrick flows really well on this track, weaving in and out of the beat but always staying on track. He drops some nice lines, like “And I bang like a C-R-I-P, P-R-I-U high you I’ma I-V” and “I Big, I Pac, you Chris, I Rock”. This track will definitely stay on rotation for some time to come.

4: P & P 1.5 (feat. Ab-Soul) 5/5
As I said above, P & P from the Kendrick Lamar EP was a standout so I was automatically pumped when I saw Kendrick was doing a remix to it for the new album. And I might add, this is possibly the best song off the album and blew away my expectations for this song. J. Cole (another favorite here) has stated that this was his favorite album of the year and this was his favorite song off the album by far. The song has the original first verse from P & P which is not a bad thing at all. Considering it has some awesome lines where Kendrick talks about his life in Compton like “Trust me these n****s rushed me for something my cousin probably did, guilty by association story of my life, n***a!”. After that the beat drops and goes real smooth. Then he drops a new verse and Kendrick’s TDE mate, Ab-Soul lends a helping hand again and kills it as usual. This is an absolutely amazing track and I highly recommend you take a listen.

5: Alien Girl (Today With You) 4.5/5
Guess what? Another calm, soothing track from the Compton spitter and I’m not complaining at all. Right off the bat, this track reminds me of Drake or Kanye in the singing sense. Yes it’s not truly singing, but it still goes. I can imagine this track being hit or miss with people because of the singing factor, but it was a definite hit for me. The subject matter is okay for a Kendrick Lamar track. He just talks about a girl that is so beautiful that she seems like an alien. But he does paint an almost perfect picture with his rhymes. All in all, it’s a solid listen.

6: Opposites Attract (Tomorrow Without Her) [feat. Javonte] 5/5
Kendrick continues in the vein of smooth tracks with a sixth straight. This is also one of the best songs off the album. Kendrick follows up an okay lyrically song with a standout. The chorus is almost too true as it goes “We hurt people that love us, love people that hurt us”. The first verse is about a guy talking to his girlfriend about things that she does to him. Then the second verse is her response. The lines in themselves weave a story and have a deeper meaning. You need to just sit back and watch Kendrick go on his story telling mode. There are so many true lines in this song, that it can really appeal to anyone. Javonte also drops a smooth hook to complement Kendrick’s bars perfectly. He doesn’t try to over power Kendrick and it works out to be a perfect fit. It’s a must listen for any fan.

7: Michael Jordan (feat. Schoolboy Q) 5/5
It’s time for a banger, and Kendrick delivers it. From a lyrical stand point, it’s not this tracks strong suit. Kendrick really just talks about what if he reaches Michael Jordan’s status in society. Schoolboy Q drops, what I consider, to be one of the best features on the tape. I’ll be honest, his verse sucks lyrically but his flow is so good that it makes up for that miss. Lyrics are a huge part from what I judge, but I try to ignore them here and just let my head bounce to the beat. If you’re tired of the smooth tracks and looking for a banger, look no farther.

8: Ignorance Is Bliss 5/5
Let me start off by saying this is my favorite Kendrick Lamar track to date. Willie B cooked up and absolute monster of a beat and it bangs from start to finish. It starts off smooth and then the beats drops and you’re like “holy crap this goes”. The flow from Kendrick on this track I’d absolutely insane and he bodies the beat. He knows exactly when to slow down and speeds up with the fast flow just to remind you that he can do that too. This is the type of track Kendrick is made to rap on. He also drops some extremely dope lines such as “and Willie B I’ma fool on yo beats, I bleed out the speakers as the speaker done spoke what they done speak” and “I remember being 17 wishing someone would sign me, now the only time these labels gone get me back is if they rewind me”. If you were going to listen to one song off this album to see if you like it or not, I would recommend you listen to this one. This joint will always be a great listen.

9: R.O.T.C. (Interlude) [feat. BJ The Chicago Kid] 4.5/5
Right off the bat, you can tell this song has a great vibe. Honestly this isn’t really an interlude, it’s more of a full song. So don’t let that be a turn off for you. For those of you wondering, R.O.T.C. stands for “right on time conscience”. Kendrick spits for about the first two minutes and no doubt he goes hard, but up and comer BJ The Chicago Kid really steals the show at the end with his singing. It makes a pretty solid listen even better and makes you wish there was more to the song. Some people may feel like this is a filler to the album, but it stands out on it’s own.

10: Barbed Wire (feat. Ash Riser) 3.5/5
This is more of an up tempo song and it’s does a good job of that. But it falls short everywhere else. Yes he does have some nice lines, but they are far and in between. I feel that Ash Riser really takes away from the track, if it wasn’t for him I might give this song a 4 or even a 4.5. His singing on the chorus really subtracts from the overall value of a solid song. This song lyrically deals with the struggles and difficulties of trying to make it out of Compton and the metaphoric “barb wire” that surrounds life there. Kendrick has good flow throughout his verses and considering all of this, I would still give this a listen.

11: Average Joe 5/5
This is real west coast music at it’s finest. The bass hits hard on this track and Kendrick flows perfectly with the beat. He talks about how he is just an average person (shocker considering the title), his life in Compton and how he’s high off life. He drops some great lines such as “who is KDot, a young n***a from compton, on the curb writing raps next to a gun shot” and “got jumped, got jacked, shot at, shot back, and i don’t even push these lines, I’m just trying to push these rhymes”.The chorus really hits the sweet spot on this one, its sing-song tone bangs and fits the tone of the song. If you’re looking for a new west coast jam, you’ve found it.

12: H.O.C. 4/5
Back to the smooth, soulful songs. The beat on this one is real slow and still it kinda hits hard. Towards the end, the songs goes chopped and screwed and Drop, the producer, pulls this off to perfection. This song deals with the fact that he doesn’t smoke and the misconceptions because of that. He goes on to say “in high school my teachers thought I was smoking stress, but they didn’t know my eyes were low because of genetic defects” and “I go in studio sessions and feel like a nerd, because I’m the only n***a in there not smoking on herbs”. In addition to that there are dope lines like “they jumped in the sauna because I killed their self-esteem/steam”. This is a good song to just sit back and listen to.

13: Cut You Off (To Grow Closer) 5/5
Another smooth track that still bangs in a way. Lyrically this track be the best on the entire tape, and that’s saying a lot when you look at what it’s competing against. This is song is about how he is talking with people and they keep gossiping and sending a negative vibe and he tells them to shut up.The first verse is about how Kendrick is talking with a friend backstage and she keeps talking about who she likes and she doesn’t, who’s designer bag is fake, who is cheating on who, who drives an old car and just keeps gossiping. The second verse is about how Kendrick hangs with a friend who keeps talking about what neighborhoods are beefing and who got killed last weekend. The third and final verse is about his family always talks about each other behind their backs and how they try to get Kendrick to take a side. This is one of the top lyrical tracks by Kendrick, an absolute must listen.

14: Heaven & Hell (feat. Alori Joh) 3/5
This is not one of the best Kendrick Lamar tracks, but it really does showcase his killer flow. The first verse talks on the bad things that happen in life, while the second speaks on the good things. The beat is not the best and the hook is just down right strange. The song also seems to end right in the middle of the second verse. This is one of the few passes on the entire tape.

15: She Needs Me (Remix) [feat. Dom Kennedy & MURS] 5/5
A remix to a song originally featured on the Kendrick Lamar EP, which was one of the best cuts of said tape. Kendrick recruits up and comer Dom Kennedy and west coast vet MURS to drops some bars. Dom Kennedy comes out on top as he really shines over the laid back, chill beat. MURS does a good job of not letting the young guns beat him out by too much, but what can you do when you’re going up against Kendrick and Dom. A great remix that adds to the overall feel of the original song.

16: I Do This (Remix) [feat. U.N.I., Skeme & Brown] 5/5
Another remix to a track that was originally on the Kendrick Lamar EP and this one is a banger. The duo U.N.I. do a decent job of dropping some nice bars and then Skeme and Brown also have sweet verses. But the real star of the show is without a doubt, Kendrick Lamar. His verse is a monster as he once again shows his amazing flow. When it comes down to the lyrics, that’s not really this tracks strong suit, but that’s also not its point.

I mainly posted this review to build up hype for Kendrick’s upcoming album, Section.80 which is going to be released on July 2nd. I have no doubt that it will be one the best release of the entire year. Following O(verly) D(edicated) will be a tall task to handle, but Kendrick Lamar can take it.

Ignorance Is Bliss

The Heart, Pt. II (feat. Dash Snow)

P & P 1.5 (feat. Ab-Soul)

Average Joe

Cut You Off (To Grow Closer)

Michael Jordan (feat. Schoolboy Q)

Comments
  1. […] third album in the Longterm series and it is the best by far. It also rivals other releases from Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q. With tracks that slow it down to cuts with hard hitting bars, Longterm: Mentality […]

  2. […] did it live up to the hype? Yes. Is it better than O(verly) D(edicated)? At the moment I’m gonna say it’s a tie. Will It be the best album of the year? Only […]

  3. […] check out: Artist You Need to Know: Kendrick Lamar Album Review: O(verly) D(edicated) by Kendrick Lamar Album Review: Section.80 by Kendrick […]

  4. […] needed sense of honesty to the game. Individually he has released two of my favorite albums ever, O(verly) D(edicated) and Section.80, and made some monster guest appearances. Kendrick Lamar brings raw emotion, […]

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