Kendrick Lamar’s “The Recipe”

In recent conversations with myself and with others, I’ve been trying to explain my addiction—and I truly do believe it’s an addiction—to music, new and old. A lot of times, when I’ve got an unfamiliar album in my hand, I feel like I just need to hear it. I just need to know what it sounds like. Why? I think I’m searching for connections between different times, places, and musical styles and artists. Why? I don’t know, exactly. I imagine there’s some magnificent story to be told through music, that all recorded music is somehow connected, and, if I can just trace those connections, I’ll learn something deep and special about myself and the world.

Searching for odd connections in music: It’s a game that I play.

I write a bit about this in our April issue when I mention purchasing several new pop records (“Perhaps I’d be able to draw parallels between that music and the more underground stuff I typically enjoy”) and again when I mention purchasing several old classical titles (“Maybe I’d even find similarities between Jay-Z and Gesualdo”).

Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of hip-hop. In our June issue, you’ll see that I write a bit about Drake, whose platinum album Take Care has been spending a lot of time on my turntable. Drake has led me in many other interesting directions, from Gil Scott-Heron and Marvin Gaye to SBTRKT, then to Lil Wayne and, most recently, Kendrick Lamar.

But Drake led me to Kendrick Lamar in a roundabout way. Lamar contributes an outstanding vocal track to Drake’s song “Buried Alive,” and, though I’ve listened to the song dozens of times, it hadn’t occurred to me that that voice belonged to Lamar until I read so in February/March issue of the Fader. That was this weekend. Today, after doing a quick Google search on Kendrick Lamar, I’ve learned that he delivered a new track, just this afternoon, from his upcoming album, to be released as a joint deal with Interscope, Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment, and the independent label, Top Dawg Entertainment.

Kendrick Lamar is about to blow up. The song is called “The Recipe,” and it features Dr. Dre and uses a sample from a strangely familiar song: Twin Sister’s “Meet the Frownies.”

I can’t even tell you how much fun this is for me. I love the connections! I also love the fact that the lines between electronic, pop, indie, and hip-hop are becoming increasingly blurred. This can only lead to excellent, innovative new music.

You can listen to both Kendrick Lamar’s “The Recipe” and Twin Sister’s “Meet the Frownies” at Stereogum.

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COMMENTS
davetruestory's picture

Finally after just say no to suround,compuer audio, processes musicetc Just say yes to rap. who else have the dough to by those bling bling recomended in sterophile.

kovan yarrum's picture

SM:

I have music in my collection from every conceivable genre of music...you name it.

Everything from Tunisian lounge jazz to Chinese pipa music and everything in between.

But no rap and hip hop. None.

Why? Forget the long explanations..it sucks.

Why does it suck?

99% of the "artists" do not play a single instrument.

It sounds like garbage. 

How many well known live rap or hip hop albums are there? None.

Hio Hop has helped destroy one of the great bands of our time..u2.

Once they felt to the need to connect with out to stay in touch with the "street", their records have progessively gotten worse.  This is difficult for me to say since they are dear to my heart.

Get out while you can. Don't participate in the trash culture of time. It is bringing down the country.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Are you kidding me?  I don't even know where to begin with this.  We'll just have to disagree. 

kovan yarrum's picture

seriously, I am interested to know what could draw you in...

I am honestly open to hearing....

Stephen Mejias's picture

I think I've already explained what draws me in.  I will also say that I think it's incredibly close-minded, especially for anyone who claims to be a music lover, to write off an entire genre of music, one that is not only influenced by other wonderful forms of music -- rap's ties to the blues, jazz, funk, soul, rock, and even classical music are obvious, if you just listen -- but also informs them.  It's fine to not like rap -- I don't care if you do or don't -- but to say that it's "bringing down the country" is completely ridiculous.  If anything, our inability to relate to others is what's bringing down the country. 

kovan yarrum's picture

You say that rap has ties to the blues, jazz, soul, and rock..really? I think that is a huge stretch. Give any major rap star an instrument...any instrument...let's see what happens.

Has rap influenced many modern rock artists..yes, I agree. 

I write off rap, precisely because it is NOT music. It is an obscene lowering of the lowest common denominator. Mechanical beats and talking.

If you are insinuating there are demographic reasons why I don't like rap and refuse to even acknowledge it as a musical form, you are wrong there. I am only a few years older than you, and very liberal poltically. My friends even call me  "Lefty."

Lastly, I did not say OR mean rap is bringing down the country. I said our garbage culture is......which is includes reality tv, fox news, Hollywood movies, and the general celebration of stupidity.

Did you see the interview with Jimmy Iovine in this weeks Rolling Stone? He credits rap for destroying sound as we know it on commerical recordings. Home made records with zero dynamic range. This is from a guy who has become super wealthy selling rap records via Interscope Records. Nuff Said.

MDWest's picture

I think you should check out The Roots. Actually, you can watch them every week night on Jimmy Fallon's show.  These guys all play instruments and they even use a Susaphone for the low bass. I'm not a hip hop die hard, but The Roots are one of the best live shows I've ever seen (especially when they cover bob dylan's masters of war).

kovan yarrum's picture

...and they are not in anyway shape or form strictly a rap or hip hop band.

They  have backed many soul, r&b, and rock singers. 

Their fabulous record with John Legend is anything but hip hop.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Give any major rap star an instrument...any instrument...let's see what happens.

First of all, I think you'd be surprised. Second, I think you're using a limited definition of "instrument," and consequently limiting your sense of what music can be. I have no problem with you doing that; I just don't think you should try to make me do the same thing. Third, you can put any number of traditional instruments in my hands, and I will be able to make a tune -- something that, by most standards, would at least resemble music. I can play songs. But I certainly can't do what Kendrick Lamar does, I can't do what Jay-Z does, I can't do what Kanye West or Drake or Danny Brown does... What they do makes me dance, makes me sing, makes me laugh, makes me think, makes me go out searching for more of it.

Yes, I think it's music.

Would you also say that electronic composers aren't actually making music because they choose to use computers as their tools?

I write off rap, precisely because it is NOT music. It is an obscene lowering of the lowest common denominator. Mechanical beats and talking.

Like anything else, there are good and bad examples. Just as I don't like all pop or jazz or even pizza or beer, I don't like all rap, but I would never write off an entire genre.

Did you see the interview with Jimmy Iovine in this weeks Rolling Stone?

I didn't.

kovan yarrum's picture

SM...please don't stop listening to the records that provide you with entertainment. I would never dream of telling you what to listen to, no more than I would want you to tell me what to listen to. Dance away.

What my main point was is that 99% of the readership at Stereophile do not want to read about rap or hip hop. That is the truth.

I don't want to read about references to "geniuses" (god what a joke) like Jay Z, Kanye West, or anybody else from that world. Just like readers do not want to see reviews of Kia's or Smartcars in magazines that cover high performance cars. Nobody wants read reviews of McDonalds or Wendy's in gourmet food magazines.

Stephen Mejias's picture

I would never dream of telling you what to listen to, no more than I would want you to tell me what to listen to.

"Get out while you can. Don't participate in the trash culture of time." Those are your words.

What my main point was is that 99% of the readership at Stereophile do not want to read about rap or hip hop. That is the truth.

Besides the fact that you don't have access to those numbers, I'm happy to say that that isn't true.

I don't want to read about references to "geniuses" (god what a joke) like Jay Z, Kanye West, or anybody else from that world. Just like readers do not want to see reviews of Kia's or Smartcars in magazines that cover high performance cars. Nobody wants read reviews of McDonalds or Wendy's in gourmet food magazines.

You're imposing your own feelings on others. What you think is not necessarily what other people think. If you don't like it, turn the page.

kovan yarrum's picture

...I was being sarcastic, albeit unsuccesfully, with my Madness rant. 

You are a serious young fellow, loosen up and you will get to that endzone!

Honestly, and all kidding aside, I enjoy your monthly column. What a breath of fresh air from reading 65 year old reviewers wax poetic about soundstaging and other cliches. Please keep it up.

However, I stand by what I said that nobody wants to read about rap or hip hop. 

Dare to take a poll??????

John Atkinson's picture

Quote:
What a breath of fresh air from reading 65 year old reviewers wax poetic about soundstaging and other cliches.

Hey, I resemble that remark!

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

kovan yarrum's picture

You are not quite there yet JA!!!!

As a side note, I don't think people realize how much physical work you do, with measuements, moving around huge heavy amps, speakers, cables.

MrGneiss's picture

Holy crap those comments made my brain sad..

 

Anyway, thank you Stephen for continuing to post about all the kinds of music that gets you excited..It usually gets me excited and then the next thing I know I've got records coming in the mail from bands I'd never heard of before reading about them here..So keep it up!! :-D

Stephen Mejias's picture

You got it. Thanks, MrGneiss.

lastgoodbye's picture

Nice post, Stephen. Thanks for including all types of styles of music in your columns. It's especially refreshing to hear you describe how you make connections to different types of music. It's a satisfying feeling to be able to accomplish this.

In a previous column you wrote a thougtful article about Mercury Rev. I went out and bought the album and was surprised to be able to connect hints of my favorite group "The Band" in Mercury Rev's music. Upon further examination, Levon Helm and Garth Hudson actually performed on the album! It is most gratifying to listen to a new piece of music and have the ability to mentally trace back or even discover influences from the past. Keep up the great column.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Thank you. It's so cool that you made that connection between Mercury Rev and The Band!

youngjedifresh's picture

SM-

I religiously read your articles and enjoy your honesty when it comes to music. I haven't been on a while hence me not seeing this article on Kendrick Lamar, it really peeked my interest and I decided to finally add my 2 cents. I am an avid music lover whether it be jazz, classic rock or opera. However, rap/r&b music is my favorite. I knew beforehand that my genre of music is not very well liked by most audiophiles, especially my Dad who passed down the love of music to me. However, after explaining that rap is not just a rhyme over drums and samples he began to respect why the genre appealed to me. 

 

I enjoy all music and if I was close minded like some of the folks who commented on this article I probably would be asking why you only talk about these old bands and out dated music. Everyone has their own opinion and are entitled but in all honesty, dont bash something you dont like or say it isnt music. If you dont like it you dont like it. 

 

I am an avid Stereophile reader and am part of the pecentage that would love to see you write more about hip hop records/artists. It actually made me feel a lot better that just because rap is my favorite genre of music that I can still be considered an audiophile. 

Drake..has lost some appeal to me and I am a fan of his first album Thank Me Later and his mixtape So Far Gone. So Far Gone probably wont make your turntable since it was never made into a record but if youre bored and want to listen to some mp3s I really suggest listening to So Far Gone..it may be Drakes best work to date.

There are great hip hop artists out there that actually make good music despite some of the Sterephile readers thoughts..The Roots who have been out for quite sometime have been putting out great music for more than a decade. There last album Undun was as close to a hip hop masterpiece as you can get. There are quite a few more and I'd be more than happy to send or suggest you if you would like. The least I can do after you've done so much for me musically.

Best,

Quite possibly the only reader you have who listens to rap/hip hop music :)

Stephen Mejias's picture

Yay! Your comment makes me so happy. It's really refreshing to hear something like this. Thank you for sharing. It's a shame that anyone would feel that they don't belong in a certain scene or community simply because of the things they like. It's ridiculous that we even have to say this, but: In 2012, you CAN like rap AND be an audiophile!

Amazing.

I really love Drake's latest album, Take Care. I devote a large portion of my upcoming June column to it. But it was the first of his work that I heard. I've been going backward and am now enjoying Thank Me Later. I haven't heard So Far Gone, yet, but I'll definitely download it. Really, the only thing I've been listening to lately is Kendrick Lamar's Section.80 — so awesome!  

Thanks again. I'm glad you're out there.

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