Kendrick Lamar: “untitled 03” | 05.28.2013.

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Kendrick Lamar first performed an untitled track on “The Colbert Report” back in 2014, before To Pimp A Butterfly was even released. The track was only a raw, unfinished segment, but many like myself were drawn in by the political energy of its lyrics, and were disappointed when it didn’t make an appearance on TPAB, especially because it had all the elements of some of the album’s best transitional tracks, and was backed by no less than Thundercat, Bilal, Terrace Martin, and Anna Wise. Now, we finally have a recorded version,  and although it doesn’t match the energy of the performance, its lyrics are sharp and well-conceived, and the accompanying rhythm is funky and fresh. Lamar sings about his rise to fame (and economic success) in relation to ethnically different views of success, racialized through “the black man,” “the asian,” “the indian,” and “the white man.” But his treatment is both philosophical and poetic, tender and raw. A highlight from the TPAB demos, this is the one that should have made the album.

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