Death of the Critic

Kendrick Lamar

Expectations vs Reality

Written by: Tom Blaich

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In these times, sequels are the name of the game. Finding a franchise that can be used over and over again to draw people to stores and theaters. The same can be said of music alongside games and movies, as fans eagerly await the newest release by their favorite artist. The only difference is where the name recognition lies. For games it might be with a franchise or a studio, in movies with a lead actor or director, and in music it lies firmly with the artist.

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DAMN. - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich

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Kendrick Lamar is an artist that has always grown on me, and he has been remarkably consistent in putting out amazing records, even if it sometimes takes me a few listens to get into them. With this success has come a certain expectations, a bias towards greatness and groundbreaking tracks. His
B-sides collection was one of my favorite albums of last year. And I think that this expectation is somewhat unfair. DAMN is a great album, there are no doubts about that, but it isn’t of the same level as either To Pimp a Butterfly or Good Kid, M.A.A.D City. Would I think more highly of it if I didn’t have either of these albums to compare it to, or if it was from a different artist? Is it even fair to compare them to each other? It is hard to eliminate one’s biases in writing a(n) (inherently subjective) review, but at the very least we try to make it known.

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The Gospel of Rap

Written by: Tom Blaich

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Hip-hop and religion are intrinsically linked. Far from the all-too-common perception of hip-hop as being tied purely into drugs and violence, hip-hop has acted as a reflection of the culture and artists that create it since the first time a track was spun in the Bronx in the 70’s. In the four decades since, woven throughout hip-hop are religious threads that are becoming more and more evident each day.
We wrote about it in our article on preconceptions against religious rap last year, but we did not examine the root of it, where this new trend came from.

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untitled unmastered - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich

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It’s always a good day when a new album drops. It’s a great day when one drops unexpectedly. And following the early release of
To Pimp A Butterfly last year, Kendrick Lamar continues to surprise with a new album that came out of nowhere and landed in our laps. It’s a good day.

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The Life of Pablo - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich

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I never thought that I would say that Kanye West was anything less than the most confident person in the room. No matter what room it was. Or how big it is. While we do get a feeling of insecurity in his music, as he tackles a feeling of not belonging where he is, it is more of a sense that no one will accept him for how great he is, as opposed to him not being great.

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Ramblings on Criticism

Written by: Tom Blaich

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Recently an interesting thought came to mind. I’m a critic, for better or for worse, and it makes me think about the media that I consume in an interesting way. I can’t help myself but look for symbolism and deeper meanings within work, and there is something amazing about discussing them with my friends.

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To Pimp A Butterfly - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich

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Kendrick Lamar is a powerhouse of West-coast rap, and his new album,
To Pimp a Butterfly, just reinforces this idea even more. After Good Kid M.A.A.D City, fireball debut in 2012, fans were left wondering, could Lamar top this effort, and after three years of waiting, that question can be answered.

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