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Kendrick Lamar

"The Recipe"

(Feat. Dr. Dre)

[Aftermath / Interscope / Top Dawg Ent.; 2012]

By ; April 9, 2012 

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

Watching Kendrick’s ascent has been fun. Last year’s “street”-album Section.80 (BPM review / #13 on our Top Albums of 2011) proved that he was one of the best lyricists in the game and possibly the new face of west coast hip-hop. Months later we heard reports that he was in the studio with Dr. Dre and in August we saw Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Game sign off on him. Not to mention just last month we saw Kendrick’s whole Top Dawg/Black Hippy crew sign a deal with Dre’s Aftermath and Interscope.

It was inevitable: we were going to see the west coast’s newly proclaimed king get on a track with his predecessor — Dr. Dre. It was assumed the track would just be Kendrick on a Dre beat, but on “The Recipe” — Kendrick’s first single for his major label debut — Scoop Deville handles all the production and Dre actually decides to pick up the mic for this momentous collaboration: a back-and-forth celebration of the lifestyle Los Angeles has to offer, specifically the 3 W’s: women, weed, and weather. You know, what relaxed Compton kids typically rap about. After the gorgeous female vocal sample from Twin Sister’s “Meet The Frownies” sets a relaxed tone, Dre opens with his most vivacious verse in years. Kendrick outpaces him, but it’s close, and from a technical standpoint it’s certainly better than anything we’ve heard from the Detox sessions.

“The Recipe” isn’t anything groundbreaking, and perhaps this collaboration has been over-hyped, but it’s a great, playful rap track by all means, considering it’s expected to be the radio single. On this debut we’ll certainly see Kendrick explore lyrical territory with more depth and push the envelope artistically, especially if the eclectic “Cartoon & Cereal” is indicative of where he’s going. Yes, Kendrick’s skills have been showcased better in other places but it sure is refreshing to see both Dr. Dre and the west coast hip-hop we grew-up to love have such a resurgence.

Forget about Detox. The window for that to be a great release has closed and its remains likely sound dated. While it looks like we won’t be bumping a new “Still D.R.E.” this summer, we potentially have a new classic lined up with Good Kid in a Mad City, even if it doesn’t include any Dre production.


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