#NP: Kendrick Lamar - "Ab-Soul's Outro (Feat. Ab-Soul)

I don't know about you, but I'm getting really excited for the release of Kendrick's major label debut good kid, m.A.A.d. city.  So excited I've been bumping Section.80 a lot this past week.  That's the album that Kendrick used to win the hearts of hip-hop heads everywhere and as far as independent hip-hop releases in 2011 went, it was the best, with LIVELOVEA$AP in close second.  It had everything: catchy hooks, incredible beats, a solid concept and, of course, excellent poetry.  The poetry was what really got me hooked on his music.  Not just how impressive or unique his flow is, but the subjects he chooses to address and how well he addresses them.  He dissects the problems of "Generation Why?" with an honesty and a passion that very few artists have.  That's my generation, and, if you were born in the 80s, your's too.  So that subject has a lot of significance for me and, I would say, most of Kendrick's audience.  He talks about the confusion and moral decay of our generation from the most honest and natural perspective, the human perspective.

While almost every song on Section.80 explores his subject of choice in a thought-provoking way, none do it better than "Ab-Soul's Outro".  While it's not the most immediate or "accessible" song, it's my favorite.  It serves as the mission statement for the whole album.  Kendrick lays it out plain and simple for us.  "I'm not the next pop star/ I'm not the next socially aware rapper/ I'm a human-mother-fucking-being, over dope ass instrumentation!"  And the real star of this song isn't Kendrick, but Ab-Soul who's flow is just insane.  Just try rapping this in the way Soul does it: "I've never seen a crop circle/ but I've seen a cop circle the block/ I puff squares, but I swear one day I'mma stop, my nerves itch."  It takes mad skill to switch up a rhyme scheme like that so effortlessly, and it fits the jazzy beat perfectly.  And the beat.  The Beat.  It's some crazy shit.  It's not just a jazzy beat, it's jazz.  It sounds like it came straight from Miles Davis's Milestones.

The display of skill and the beat are awesome, but my favorite thing about this song has to be the message.  "What's your life about, enlighten me/ Is you gonna live on your knees or die on your feet?/ Take out that student loan and pay off your college degree/ and do exactly what you see on TV?" and "Is you gonna plead the fifth or sound the horn?/ The time is now child, come on" and "I've spent 23 years on this earth searching for answers/ 'Til one day I realized I had to come up with my own."  That pretty much says it all.  That's what Section.80 is all about, looking at the world in an honest, truthful, passionate, human way.  We're all searching for answers.  We all have to come up with our own.  I can't wait to hear the wise words Kendrick drops on his new album.




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