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Kendrick Lamar

"Cartoon & Cereal"

[Self-released; 2012]

By ; February 15, 2012 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

When Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Game dub you the “New Prince of the West Coast,” you’re left with a rather hefty title to live up to. This happened to Kendrick Lamar while on-stage with the three (well, okay, two) rap titans in June 2011, and two months later, he dropped his first album, Section.80. It went on to gain considerable critical acclaim (Pitchfork and RapGenius ranked it on their year-end lists, and even here at BPM it got a 90% rating).

As a newcomer to Lamar’s work, his latest track, “Cartoon & Cereal,” is admittedly one of the few I’ve heard. So I can’t speak as an avid follower of his, nor as one of those championing him as the next big thing in hip-hop. What I can appreciate is the unusual, abstract production of “C&C” – how it opens with a warped, high-pitched, Sign ‘O’ the Times-esque dialogue sample about handguns and birth before transitioning into a hazy, hard-hitting beat over which the MC spits some pretty sick verses. (I’ve had to play the track back a few times to decipher some of them, and I admire it more each time.)

Whether “Cartoon & Cereal” ends up on Lamar’s debut studio album, Good Kid in a Mad City, remains to be seen. (It’s tentatively due some time this year.) But if this track is any indication of where he’s headed, we could be looking forward to a pretty eclectic, satisfying record.


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