Beginning with sweet melodies stemming from the cords of Jhene Aiko’s vocals atop the soulful meshing of keys and percussions, this seven year old goldmine indefinitely exploded the career of one of compton’s finest, Kendrick Lamar.
Toward the year of 2010’s grand finale, during a mellow September day, Lamar’s first Top Dawg Entertainment record, Overly Dedicated, was released. The album serves as a precursor to the several Kendrick Lamar albums which follow. It is a compilation representative of Dot’s musicianship, values, and beliefs that foreshadow the foundation established on a project such as good kid, m.A.A.d city and To Pimp a Butterfly. As we know, the role of album introduction – a.ka. track No. 1 – is the most vital of them all. Lamar lends his listener a moment of self-reflection prompting a merge of mind, heart, and ear allowing the production to hypnotize and trap its prey in its web of sound. The artist eloquently transitions into track two titled “Ignorance is Bliss” discussing the controversy of labeling which treads rapidly into boxing creatives and individuals in general out of ignorance – out of simply not knowing shit about shit. He references the critics calling him conscious while the streets call him Compton. Lamar emphasizes his ability to walk in his purpose and maintain versatility behind the delivery of his message omitting the need to limit his competencies. In 2010, a listener may have doubted his malleability. However, as we graze through his grasses of musical affinity, we can conclude that he has manifested all which he captured in each bar throughout Overly Dedicated.
KDot proceeds to set an experimental tone with “P&P 1.5” after his execution of consciousness on “Ignorance is Bliss”. He adds elements to the track that can be found embroidered into the lifetime of Outkast. These elements enhance the evolution of “P&P 1.5” into the vulnerability found in “Alien Girl (Today With Her)” where he analyzes the depths of a young woman’s energy, his words attempting to describe her beauty as best as words can. Kendrick mentions in his lover’s serenade “But why him? I hear ’em hate, I laugh at it rather than jab at it” only to interlude the following song ironically titled “Opposites Attract”. He changes the mood entirely at the inception of “Michael Jordan”, returning to his Compton, hood patriotic wavelength. “Michael Jordan” is a Lil Wayne tribute in which KDot pays homage to the mogul of an artist through utilizing Weezy type production as well as sampling Carter’s No Ceilings flow. He gives you music to act like your shit don’t stink to. Kendrick Lamar finesses the art of consciously creating by adding the desired flare of bounce.
Yeah, we know Overly Dedicated is a mere seven years old as compared to typical album celebrations of ten to twenty-five years. However, we also know and praise the work ethic that Kendrick Lamar has displayed dating back to the beginning of his rap career. Billboard 100 chart hits, VMA awards, and the acknowledging of a classic album which paved way for new triumphs in Compton. As we stated before, Kendrick Lamar, you are consciously winning.