Some people say music is what feelings sound like.
The more popular that music becomes the more the average ear ventures out to find new music. Upon doing this, a lot of theme find different genres.
That being said, the review rate of songs, albums and artists is bound to increase.
However, two things often get in the way of writing a clear, concise, unbiased music review:
Personal feelings about the person
Lack of knowledge about the background and/or community the artist comes from
Any writer who is writing a music review must understand it is his/her job to objectively look at the art without any preconceived notions or biases. Consume music as a whole and review it as one cohesive project.
If done correctly, this job eliminates the possibility of number one happening.
One example often used is rapper Kendrick Lamar being tabbed the Tupac Shakur of the generation. Shakur was a rapper and activist that was many times referred to as a rebel.
Whether or not you agree, this holds some validity but not in the way that many would assume.
When people hear Tupac they think gangster, thug and an outlaw. While those things may be true, people are pointing to the more conscious, poetic and generation-inspiring side.
While Tupac was loud and boisterous similar to songs like “Hit Em Up,” but he could also educate the youth articulately in the middle of a hailstorm like “Keep Ya Head Up.”
On the other hand, Kendrick will speak directly to kids steering them the right way, encouraging them to keep pushing forward similar to “Alright.” However, he also has that interesting ability to flip the coin and give a more aggressive Pac-like style of rap like his verse on “Control.”
His second album To Pimp a Butterfly is a perfect capsulation of this theory, so much so the Dissect podcast dedicated an entire season to breaking down the lyrics, cover art, themes and underlying origins of some of the ideas that created the art form.
Dissect is a podcast platform that takes a look at some of the most interesting musical compositions in recent memory and they take a full in-depth look at the project and give analysis to the listener that most would not know otherwise.
For instance, during the Lamar season some of the key things analyzed were the cover art, every song on the album and it even featured an exclusive interview with the late-Shakur at the conclusion of the final track.
The cover art features a white, male judge with his eyes marked with black x’s surrounded by black youth. The youth all encompass some theme that is discussed on the album.
One song is titled, “Institutionalized” and according to Dissect host Cole Cuchna the term itself is “easy to define but harder to understand because it’s nuanced unless you’re affected by it.”
Lastly, the Tupac interview is discussed in detail considering it becomes a conversation between him and Lamar with the audience watching through the window so to speak.
This would be a good time to note that Lamar originally wanted to name the album To Pimp a Caterpillar, which would have been an acronym for Tupac.
However, it is important to note the extreme detail that Cuchna put into gathering the information in order to feel comfortable to break down such a complete body of work. Moreover, the body of work is one of the most difficult to analyze, Cuchna said so himself.
Again, lack of knowledge would be extremely detrimental in this case. Because if one were to wrongly identify or misinterpret what Lamar said and supporters of the platform caught wind of it, they would leave misinformed.
To Pimp a Butterfly is a conceptual project so misunderstanding track one could prevent you from understanding track 16.