On this day, July 2, in hip-hop history...

Top Dawg Entertainment
Top Dawg Entertainment

2011:  After a handful of mixtapes and establishing subtle notoriety as the next potential luminary of hip-hop, Kendrick Lamar released his Section.80, and astonished the unsuspecting masses in the process.

While the majority of largely accessible rap music at this current time was adamantly being rooted around materialism and individual status, Kendrick purposefully exercises Section.80 as a podium to lyrically navigate substantial social, political, and economic ideologies. Decisively captivating in so many different facets, where Kendrick really succeeds in his foundation throughout this album's entirety, is in the confidence he exudes in both the composition and delivery of his words. Dawning a seemingly flawless and tranquil flow, Kendrick effortlessly transitions between tracks, verbally discharging wisdom, poise and instruction for self-enlightenment. Setting the tone and displaying his lyrical prowess in comparison to his peers', on the album's eighth track, "Poe Man's Dreams", Kendrick professes "I know some rappers using big words to make their similes curve, my simplest shit be more pivotal. I penetrate the hearts of good kids and criminals, worrisome individuals that live life critical."

The production of the Section.80, primarily executed by TDE's resident production team, Digi+Phonics, with help from Terrace Martin and J. Cole among others,  is continually impeccable.  A 16-track album that's plentiful in resourcefulness, takes on a profusion of different moods, from soulful and jazzy, to atmospheric and electronic, all the way to bass heavy, southern bounce.

If contemporary hip-hop desperately needed a perpetual breath of fresh air unveiled into its atmosphere, this initial effort from the budding emcee hailing from Compton, Calif. is exactly that and more. An immaculate marriage of elite production and unblemished lyrical content, Section.80 is the first complete component to what is one man's ongoing profound legacy, which is currently unfolding right in front of this generation's eyes. Now, seven years later, K. Dot is one of hip-hop's biggest stars and Section.80 stands as a phenomenal stepping stone. - Michael Blair

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