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a multimedia project • launched 1 january 2016
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FILM, TELEVISION + MUSIC

Posts tagged Kendrick Lamar
WSH's Fourth Annual (Not Very) Highly Scientific Ranking of the Year's Best Songs • #8

Days after the Warriors’ relatively anticlimactic sweep of the LeBronnettes in last June’s NBA Finals, HBO and The Ringer produced a visually stunning recap of their four-game series, the show culminating with the Dubs’ championship parade being soundtracked this song right here, which I hadn’t yet heard before. I declared on-the-spot that “Win" would absolutely positively have to be my favorite song of 2018.

Didn’t quite make it to #1 — although #8 on a prestigious list such as this ain’t nothing to sneeze at. (I’m joking. Kinda.) But if you listen to Jay Rock — and specifically Jay Rock — you certainly understand why I leapt to that conclusion.

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The Third Annual WSH (Not Very) Highly Scientific Ranking of the Year's Best Songs, Day Five

“Family Feud” is a piece of a larger tapestry, of course, but, similar to “LUST.” on Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN., "Family Feud" is 4:44’s axis; feuding with others — and most crucially, himself — led to this album’s creation in the first place. It’s not so difficult to live a decent life; if we all treated others with the care and consideration we'd like to experience ourselves, we’d live in a much happier world. But our lustful, self-serving impulses tend to handicap us in the worst possible ways, and until we recognize these impulses as more detrimental to the collective good than as beneficial to our personal individual goals, we’ll continue to see the same negative results.

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The Third Annual WSH (Not Very) Highly Scientific Ranking of the Year's Best Songs, Day Three

Any and all of DAMN. could’ve made this list’s cut (“ELEMENT”., “LOYALTY.”, and “HUMBLE.” nearly did), but “LUST.” exists as the most fun story on the album, and that’s clearly for a reason. Not to step on next week’s DAMN. essay — spoiler alert: DAMN. is one of my top-5 albums this year, never could’ve guessed that one — but “LUST.” is the axis upon which this album rotates. Listening to DAMN. front-to-back? Lust has been Kendrick Lamar's issue the entire time — coveting material things in the pursuit of happiness, only to recognize none of it ultimately matters. Listening in reverse order? “LUST.” is where things begin falling apart for Kendrick, his bragging about losing expensive jewelry and bouncing city-to-city for more millions taking on a much more sinister tone. It’s a neat trick, one Lupe Fiasco used to pull with ease: there’s a clear moral to this song, but it’s up to you to figure out what it is. And it might not be the same for everyone. At no point does Kendrick make “LUST.” sound boring; on the contrary, I’d love to experience both vignettes in the first verse and Kendrick’s personal testimony in the second. But is it good for you? Now that’s an entirely different conversation.

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Two Cheers for the Best Rapper You've Never Heard Of

By Thursday ... actually, the fact I made it to Thursday with no telephone or internet service is a feat. I'm clapping for myself in-between keystrokes right now. I mean, I had e-mails to check, pictures to post on Instagram, Twitters to lurk! I decided to skip lunch and hoard all the Internet while I could.

I felt like I'd missed so much. Trump kept Trumping, Steph kept Stephing, and three (four?) of my favorite rap artists dropped albums ON THE SAME DAY.

But oddly enough, I wasn't very pressed to hear Kendrick Lamar's project, and I didn't have very high expectations for Collegrove, either.

Nope. The only one I absolutely needed to hear is the one you've probably never heard about.

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Lórenzo J’s Highly Scientific Ranking of the Year’s 17 Best Songs

I’ve been making year-end playlists for a few years now. It’s a really fun exercise. Every now and again, you’ll see a song that you downloaded in January and can’t believe that song came out in the same calendar year as a song that came out 2 weeks ago. My only general qualification for this project is that the song be on an album that came out in 2015. I picked 100 songs to start, cut that down to 40, and finished with 17 — 7 honorable mentions, and a top-10 I painstakingly ranked. Really, painstakingly. It hurt me to cut some of the songs. But, tough decisions had to be made and whatnot. So, without further ado, the honorable mentions, in no particular order:

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Kendrick, Cole, and Home as Hip-Hop’s Muse

Anyways, like the masochist I am, I sought out reviews for Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly the day it released. I forget what I was doing that Monday, but my day was fairly empty, so giving TPAB an initial listen straight-through was pretty easy. I caught its major themes pretty quickly, so it shocked me when everybody — literally, everybody — ran away from reviewing it. It’s too early to review because there’s so much going on, seemed to be the consensus, but it is really amazing sonically. I personally was perplexed that everyone was so perplexed. I texted my best friend, a fellow music snob, to see if she picked up where Kendrick was going, and she agreed the project was really easy to comprehend. Why were the folks who get paid to critique it so afraid to try?

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