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Kendrick Lamar’s latest album, To Pimp a Butterfly, came out a week ahead of schedule, which means our ears have had time to digest the tracks. Now that they have, consider us in the group calling it one of the best hip-hop albums of the last decade. The new King of Compton has made something modern that’s rooted in the California rap of his predecessors. It’s a sly nod that doesn’t copy or rehash. The rawness of the lyrics and the topics bring to mind N.W.A., the jazz that flows throughout the background feels like the soundtrack of a lazy ’90s West Coast summer filled with slow-moving drop-tops, and yet, it all feels fresh. We’ll wait on Kanye’s next album, but right now, Kendrick is king.

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