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by Kendrick Lamar

Released July 2, 2011 via Top Dawg Entertainment

Reviewed July 6, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
A.D.H.D. (64%), HiiiPower (58%), Rigamortus (46%)

There are surprisingly few moments on Kendrick Lamar’s debut album, Section.80, that explicitly resemble the West Coast G-funk era that he was known to be tied to. Arriving to the game with a co-sign in Dr. Dre that most rappers spend their entire career working toward, Lamar was immediately known to be someone to look out for. Even so, his sound on Section.80 truly flips any expectations that come with said vouch on their head, delivering a far more introspective and expository examination of the experiences of Kendrick Lamar and the world he’s living in. Exploring macro level real-world issues like sex work, drugs, poverty, politics and discrimination with hauntingly descriptive stories, Lamar does a great job at realizing specific scenes with the listener. Along the way, the rapper boasts his clear gift for lyricism, dizzying the audience with “Rigamortus” or casually navigating impressive wordplay on “A.D.H.D.” Some moments are slightly on the nose and, were they left more vague, could have resonated on a more profound level. But overall, Section.80 set the stage for what Lamar would eventually master: subtext. The thesis of a project left untouched, allowing for a listener to draw their own conclusion. Every song has a point (be it a lesson or a question), but not every track shares what that point is. And that’s what has made Kendrick so great. – Pax (8.6/10)

Section.80, Kendrick Lamar's debut studio album, prefaces his best work and foreshadows the historic greatness that was yet to come to come, just to a slightly lesser degree. Structure, stories, and an overarching theme are crucial ingredients to Kendrick's formula, and he is among the best at album execution and presentation. Laced with some of the finest material of the 2010's, take “A.D.H.D” and “HiiiPower” as examples, Section.80 paints pictures of the West Coast's high life, low life, and everything in between. Political issues play on the mind of Kendrick Lamar, but that's not to say that he can't have a good time in the process. Tracks like “Rigamortus” lift the album's spirits, providing a breather from the heavier aspects of Kendrick's repertoire. Money, hoes, clothes, God and history–a concise summary of Mr. Lamar's versatility. – Peter (8/10)

Hadley: 9/10 | DeVán: 8.7/10 | Pax: 8.6/10 | Daniel: 8.5/10

Dominick: 8/10 | Enth: 8/10 | Peter: 8/10

Jared: 7.5/10 | Cam: 7/10 | Alan: 5.5/10


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