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My First Time: Kendrick Lamar’s Entire Discography

Ever since the few minutes I watched Kendrick Lamar during the Super Bowl last year, I knew I had to do his discography next. Since having this idea, I’ve realized I don’t recognize nor know many of his songs; I simply know how intelligent he is (like, take sip of water for every time I use the phrase “beautifully poetic” or just the word “poetic”).

Before we get into my mess of music-related notes, I just wanted to mention I won’t be doing the Black Panther soundtrack, which I know Kendrick had a big hand in (to say the least).

Also, right quick, I’m not sure if this is every Kendrick project; I simply listened to what Spotify had available.

Overly Dedicated (2010)

Honestly, there’s not much I can contribute about this album. Between this album and the next, it gives first album energy. As in, you can hear the potential for growth.

There were a couple of songs I heavily didn’t vibe with. “P&P 1.5” gave me the same energy as Tyler, the Creator but with a Kendrick Lamar twist; it felt like it was longer than six minutes. As soon as I heard the intro to “Michael Jordan,” I knew I wouldn’t like it. It felt like a song made for the radio.

I think my favorite lyrics come from “Average Joe”: “I don’t do black music, I don’t do white music // I do everyday life music.” Literally me with music, something I’ve talked about on this platform before.

Top 2: “Barbed Wire” ft. Ash Riser & “She Needs Me (Remix)” ft. Dom Kennedy, Murs

Section.80 (2011)

First and foremost, this album started better than the previous album and definitely captured my attention lyrically. I was in tune with the album from the jump; whereas, it took me a minute with Overly Dedicated. There was a shift with this album; it felt like this was the beginning of his lyrically genius era. Overly Dedicated felt like it was simply a way to introduce him to the scene.

With “No Make-Up (Her Vice),” the chorus felt like it was made for the radio, but I enjoyed the message. I feel like every rapper has a song along the lines of embracing your natural beauty, such as “Crooked Smile” by J. Cole ft. TLC and “No Enhancers” by Jack Harlow. There are definitely others out there, but those are the two I recently had in my ear.

Overall, this felt more cohesive than his initial album. Despite its poetic beauty and cohesion, there wasn’t a song that stood out enough for me to have a favorite and add it to my monthly playlist.

good kid, m.A.A.d city (Deluxe) (2012)

This album has very poetic songs with soothing, not so in-your-face beats/melodies/whatever the proper term is… then songs like “Backseat Freestyle” exist. What a way to make sure someone is still listening.

Personally, I would love if some of the spoken parts were separate interludes. Sometimes I wouldn’t vibe with the song but really liked the spoken parts, such as on “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst.”

I definitely enjoyed the latter half of this album more than the first. “Now or Never – Bonus Track” ft. Mary J. Blige is beautiful, soulful, perfection. When I first heard this, I found my song for year 24 of being alive (the song for year 23 was “The World Is Mine (Whole World Ahead)” by Samm Henshaw).

Top 2: “Compton” ft. Dr. Dre & “Real” ft. Anna Wise

To Pimp A Butterfly (2015)

This is an album that someone I used to work with would consistently RAVE about; there was a look of horror on his face when I told him I never listened to it.

As we progress with Kendrick’s discography, the intro songs seem to get better and better, and that was evident with “Wesley’s Theory.”

I love the repetition of “I remember you was conflicted, misusing your influence” and how he expands upon the saying further as he repeats it. I don’t know if that makes sense, but just know it’s perfection (if you’re like me and have never listened to a Kendrick Lamar album before today).

Another thing I love is the juxtaposition of “u” and “i.” One is about loving someone else, and the other is about loving yourself. It seems pretty self-explanatory, but I also feel like my simpleton mind could be wrong… Anyway, I appreciate that the album version of “i” is different from the single version, but I still think the single version is more my speed.

No because why is the last song twelve minutes?

Top 2: “The Blacker The Berry” & “Alright”

untitled unmastered. (2016)

As I listened, the first track felt like a venting session about the state of the current world, though it started off with a completely different message (maybe to grab the listener’s attention?). As I continued listening, I realized the entire thing is a venting session. The whole project felt like the poetic rap version of a diary, a diary written by someone who gets overwhelmed with big feelings.

This is the shortest album in his discography, and I was certainly appreciative for the slight break as I ventured through.

DAMN. COLLECTORS EDITION. (2017)

This is the same songs as DAMN. but in a reverse order, so I decided to listen to this version. Though, I could easily be wrong about this. However, in my opinion, this order of the songs flows beautifully. The way “HUMBLE.” comes before “PRIDE.” and “LOVE. FEAT. ZACARI.” comes before “LUST.”… perfection.

Also, random, I enjoy the simplicity of the titles; something about it just sits right with my soul.

“DUCKWORTH.” was definitely the best opening track out of all of his albums. It starts off with beautiful harmonies that were *chef’s kiss*.

Doing these sorts of projects always reminds me of why these artists are so popular and just how many hits they have. Like, I totally forgot “HUMBLE.” was a thing until I listened to this album.

I really like that he ended with a spoken piece and a media outlet’s [ridiculous] disgust with the very true lyrics “And we hate po-po // Wanna kill us dead in the street for sure” from “Alright.” Yes, the same lyric that had to be censored during his 2022 Super Bowl performance.

Top: “FEAR.”

Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers (2022)

This is the only album I fully listened to prior to deciding to listen to his entire discography. Kendrick Lamar was in my top five artists last year for the amount of times I repeatedly listened to songs from this album. For the sake of continuity, I guess, I listened to it again for this blog writing.

With this project, you can tell he worked a lot on himself in the five years it took for this album to grace us. He worked through his trauma to become a better man, which is very evident in “Mother I Sober.”

Lyrically, “Worldwide Steppers” is a song that every single person existing in the 2020s decade needs to listen to. My favorite feature, from all the albums, comes on this album with Sampha being featured on “Father Time.”

I would prefer if “Silent Hill” wasn’t a thing… or was a little different or something. This is the one song from the album that felt like it didn’t fit.

Top 2: “Die Hard” ft. Blxst, Amanda Reifer & “Rich Spirit”


Dude… his albums are SO LONG. Considering I was sitting down and actively taking notes while listening to these albums, I was not prepared for them to be as long as they are. Granted, I did listen to a Deluxe version of one album but still…

Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoy Kendrick Lamar’s music, and I am so happy I decided to do this and immerse myself in his genius lyricism. Kendrick’s music is so beautifully poetic that I can’t add it to my workout playlist; I need to get hype, and he’ll have me contemplating life.

I genuinely believe Kendrick Lamar is an artist who gets better with time as he matures with time. Even if I have to wait another five years, I am looking forward to what he will do next.

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