Most musicians use late-night television performances as a chance to plug their latest single, but Kendrick Lamar does things different. During stops at The Colbert Report, Late Night With Stephen Colbert, the Grammys and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, King Kendrick took the opportunity to perform material that hadn’t previously seen the light of day.
In interviews, Lamar had mentioned that he had a great deal of material from the sessions for last year’s To Pimp a Butterfly that didn’t make the final cut due to deadlines and sample clearance issues. (It’s also worth noting that there really wasn’t room on that 16-song album for any more music, not that that’s much of an issue in the digital age.) Lamar hadn’t indicated that he planned to release these songs anytime soon, a situation which LeBron James found so understandably unacceptable that he called out Anthony Tiffith, head of Kendrick’s label Top Dawg Entertainment, for depriving the fans.
Not wanting to keep LeBron waiting any longer, last night Lamar released untitled unmastered, an eight-track collection of songs that, based on the titles, seemed to have been recorded between 2013 and 2016. On first listen, it’s as fiery and complex as Butterfly and a fine companion release. Let’s hope that somewhere, Kanye West is taking notes on how to properly release an album online.
untitled unmastered. is out now on iTunes and other platforms. Stream it above.