5 early Kendrick Lamar cuts worth revisiting ahead of his July tour

Okay, okay, we know we’re a bit early on the proper hype train but screw it, Kendrick Lamar is touring. And touring properly. Not just chucking a Melbourne and Sydney show alongside his headline Splendour in the Grass appearance. K.Dot has shown love to fans in Adelaide and Perth too, locking in dates in South Oz and on the West Coast, bringing DAMN. to a stupidly large venue near you mid-year.

Of course, DAMN. has proven to be one of Lamar’s biggest pieces of acclaimed work to date; though To Pimp a Butterfly purists may have some niggles here and there (I still think Untitled Unmastered has gone under too many radars…), but there’s no denying that Lamar is a rapper and writer operating at the top of his game at the moment.

This tour is going to be epic.

So, with this in mind, we dove back into the early chapters of Lamar’s catalogue – before he was commanding humility and winning Pulitzer Prizes, Kendrick was bouncing with ScHoolboy Q and BJ the Chicago Kid on Overly Dedicated and of course, blessed us with the likes of “A.D.H.D”, “Hiipower” on Section.80 in 2011.

A.D.H.D

Produced by Digi+Phonics’ Sounwave, the song highlights Lamar’s unique flow which at the time, was standing out brightly against Drake’s Take Care-era romanticism, Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow” breakthrough and other chart-storming rappers around this 2011, 2012 period.

MICHAEL JORDAN

A veritable tag team before both became massive in their own right, Kendrick and ScHoolboy Q flexed impressively on this track from 2010’s Overly Dedicated. Sampling Lil Wayne’s “No Ceilings” from 2009 also makes “Michael Jordan” a sick little throwback track.

BACKSEAT FREESTYLE

There’s a good chance that 2012’s good kid, m.A.A.d city was the Kendrick Lamar album that got you into Kendrick Lamar. Featuring the likes of “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe”, “Poetic Justice” and of course, “Swimming Pools (Drank)”, the album brought Kendrick to global attention more than before and really laid the foundations for what was to come. Still, “Backstreet Freestyle” remains a highlight of the record for us – the way Kendrick spits on this track is nothing but ferocious. Produced by Hit-Boy, the beat was originally meant for Ciara but came to Kendrick in the end – we’re happy it did.

H.O.C

Another Overly Dedicated cut, this 2010 tune was an early indicator of Kendrick’s finessing of the game. The production is great, the flow laid back – “H.O.C” provides a nice little chilled sojourn in amongst the hard hitters featured throughout the rest of the mixtape.

THE RECIPE

Bringing two of Compton’s finest together, Kendrick and Dr. Dre on “The Recipe” is still such a good listen. The first single to be release from good kid…, “The Recipe” has Scoop DeVille on production duties and leans heavily into West Coast hip hop vibes. As Dre and Kendrick bounce off one another, their partnership seems effortless – Cali at its best.

KENDRICK LAMAR TOUR DATES

July 10th | Perth Arena, PERTH
July 13th | Rod Laver Arena, MELBOURNE
July 15th | Adelaide Entertainment Centre, ADELAIDE
July 24th | Qudos Bank Arena, SYDNEY

All tickets go on sale Monday, April 30th – visit www.livenation.com.au for times and more details.

Photo by Michelle Grace Hunder.