By Joe DeRosa
By Joe DeRosa
Rob Fusari Interview (Grammy Award Winning, Multi – Platinum Music Producer, Songwriter And Music Executive)
By Cullen Ronan
In the time that passed from 2012 to 2015, Kendrick Lamar’s style had changed drastically. In his previous albums prior to To Pimp a Butterfly, Kendrick’s approach to his music was a familiar scene; hard-hitting delivery with deeply symbolic lyrics that were blanketed in memorable, up-tempo beats.
It was a formula for success, as Kendrick quickly became one of the industry’s most respected hip-hop artists. To Pimp a Butterfly was a drastic, but refreshing change to Kendrick’s style, as the consistent use of jazz melodies and tempos combined with Kendrick’s signature hard-hitting delivery of social undertones offered a sound that was unheard of.
Now, in 2016, more than a year after he dropped To Pimp a Butterfly, Kendrick surprised the world again by offering a deeper insight into his transformed style with the release of untitled unmastered. The album contains a series of 8 unreleased outtakes from To Pimp a Butterfly.
The tracks on this album follow suit to the album’s name, with each track being labeled untitled with each chronological number following it, as well as the year that the specific song was recorded.
Its clear from the introduction of the very first song that these songs could fit right in with To Pimp a Butterfly’s track list, as the familiar ominous atmosphere containing the signature jazz elements and unique arrangement of melodies that made To Pimp a Butterfly so memorable are the norm on this album. The tracks all flow well, with every track transitioning to another in a way that isn’t too abrupt or out of place.
What makes it more interesting, however, is that we also get to hear samples of Kendrick’s original sound show up in certain songs. A sound reminiscent of the general atmosphere of Section .80 comes to mind as Kendrick slugs a call and response style verse with Jay Rock, which is an elegantly vicious attack on the beat that the boys from TDE have been proficient in with past endeavors. Kendrick also shows the unique narrative style that he has on To Pimp a Butterfly and G.O.O.D Kid M.A.A.D City on the second track, where Kendrick exaggerates his voice and swaps flows at several points in the song.
Another element on the album is Kendrick’s use of motifs. One of the most common elements on To Pimp a Butterfly was Kendrick’s repetition of various themes within the tracks or in interludes, more specifically, the re-occurring poem that Kendrick recites at the end of certain songs. Considering that untitled unmastered is practically an extension of To Pimp a Butterfly, its not surprising that Kendrick had these re-occurring themes appear, especially Kendrick’s chanting of, “pimp pimp,” which is found at the beginning of the second and seventh tracks on the album
Untitled Unmastered offers further insight into the mind of Kendrick, offering ideas that, while missed the initial cut or just were plain not released, still offer a unique view at a man’s take on societal distress, and is a very suitable addition to Kendrick’s track record as an artist.
1. How has your upbringing/ hometown had an affect on your music, if any?
Growing up in the countryside meant I kind of had to figure everything out for myself. There weren’t any local scenes to get involved with, just a few bands and songwriters making wildly varying music. I didn’t appreciate the music my parents listened to until relatively recently either. I didn’t really hone down on a sound until I went to university. Moving to Leeds and collaborating with musicians helped me to gauge what my own music was missing.
2. At what point in you life did you know that you wanted to pursue music as a career?
I think I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in the arts of some kind. I tried art and acting along side music growing up but music was the only one that stuck around, so it just made sense to me to pursue it.
3. What was the inspiration for your track ‘Evil Twin’ ?
It’s about taking all the things you don’t like about yourself or the things you regret doing and personifying that as someone else (your evil twin), as a method of getting over it. It’s also a realisation that the person you’ve created is the only one who knows these dark things about you. And when you zoom out, as both people are technically you – it means you’re the only person who fully understands yourself and everyone is lonely in that way. A proper positive song, anyway…
4. If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be and why?
Definitely Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) mainly because I’d love to see how he works and what his writing process is. Also Kanye West. Say what you want about him but he’s hugely influential on this generation. They’re both mates too so can I chose both of them? That would be the dream.
5. What has been the most memorable event that has occurred in your career thus far?
Personally playing Reading + Leeds festival (in another band) was a highlight for me musically. In Krrum it would probably be getting number 1 on hype machine. I don’t really know what it means but it feels good.
6. What do you do in your spare time other than create music?
That’s been a bit of a difficult one since I started making music full time. I burn out from writing/producing and don’t really have a separate outlet anymore. Still need to work it out.
7. How does your Electronic/Pop music stand out compared to other artists who are doing the same thing?
I wouldn’t like to say really! I guess we start from an organic place most of the time, real sounding instruments and vocals then contort them instead of using mainly electronic synths and that. I find it’s best not to think about how to stand out or what other artists in our field are doing and focus on making art that you’re happy with.
8. Who has been your biggest inspiration in the music industry, and why?
If I had to say, it would probably be Justin Vernon again, simply for writing music that’s inspired me. It’s the kind of thing that’s always changing for me though. Currently love Father John Misty. I’ve not had that child-like ‘I wish I was him’ thing for ages but he has brought it out in me.
9. What would you be doing if you were not doing music? Or have you always seen yourself doing music?
I’ve always seen myself doing music and if being an artist didn’t work out I’d probably still want to go into the industry in some way. But hypothetically, if I wasn’t allowed to do anything music related, I’d work with animals. Maybe in like a Red panda or a monkey sanctuary or something. Something exotic, I couldn’t be a dog walker.
10. What is one thing you want fans to feel when they listen to your music?
The songs are written with a certain intention of intensity. So I’d like to think they’d feel that. Ideally, I’d like people to identify with the lyrics, the way that I have with artists I’ve listened to.
11. What kind of experience do you want fans to have at one of your future concerts?
I’d obviously want them to enjoy it and similarly I’d hope they’d feel the intensity but really I just want them to walk away from it and say ‘they’re a fucking great live band.’