While the Internet salivated over an album cover (an album that has produced one song that was both terrible and forgettable), the best rap album of 2011 — thus far — had been available for purchase two days before. Kendrick Lamar quietly dropped Section.80 on iTunes late Friday night, and to sleep on it would be mistake. The West Coast rapper has gained blog traction thanks to a dexterous flow, but it's how he uses it that really inspires. With each song, Lamar challenges himself to not only tell a story, but to also attack the beat in ways lesser rappers simply wouldn't consider. He's a rapper's rapper like Outkast's Big Boi — the joy is in the execution, and the payoff is a finished product unmistakably their own. The big news surrounding Lamar is he's working with Dr. Dre on something called Detox, but his story is more interesting than a guest verse on a mythical project. Like many others, he's a proud, young black man finding his voice in America (a topic touched directly and indirectly all over Section.80), but he has a gift very few possess, and it comes across in his rhymes. Watch his video for Hiii Power, produced by J. Cole, below.
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