• 3

    Kendrick Lamar - "untitled 2"

    The music Kendrick Lamar is making is not fun to listen to. There are pleasant things about it—excellent rapping, technically impressive instrumentation, a wise and soulful spirit—but it's challenging. It's dense, unstructured, and confrontational. And it's absolutely vital.

    Much of Kendrick's new untitled unmastered project feels like a meandering jam session between Kendrick and his talented artist friends, but the high points, like the climax of "untitled 2," come in explosive flashes. Most importantly, Kendrick Lamar is the kind of captivating presence that pushes an entire genre forward and inspires others—peers, fans, and doubters—to be better. Being challenged is necessary, and it's way more rewarding than mindlessly bobbing along to another club hit that will be irrelevant in six months.—Jacob Moore