Why TDE should make Untitled Unmastered a series



I remembered back in March of 2016 when we received news via twitter from the good guys of Top Dawg Entertainment informing us that a surprise project was going to be released soon. At the time, I really didn’t know what to expect regarding whose album was going to drop. At that time, the roster was still building up their superstardom while Kendrick and Schoolboy Q were holding down the fort. So I was thinking about who was going to be the one releasing the album.

I knew Schoolboy Q was still working on his but I didn’t think that he would have that kind of star power to drop a surprise album. The only person that came to mind who could pull that stunt was Kendrick. However, To Pimp a Butterfly was already released the year before and knowing how he moves with releasing new music, there were high doubts he would just drop another project. But sure enough, Untitled Unmastered was released upon us in March 2016.

The story behind Untitled Unmastered was that Kendrick had more recordings he enjoyed creating during the making of To Pimp a Butterfly but was unable to add records to the final cut of the tracklist whether it was due to sample clearance issues  or the songs didn’t entirely fit into the the context of the album’s overall theme. Prior to release, Kendrick had performed two of the untitled records; the first one back in December 2014 before TPAB dropped & the second one in January 2016 after TPAB dropped.

What makes Untitled Unmastered  such an incredible body of work is because of how raw the album was, from the eight feature tracks being left untitled to the whole project not being mastered and left in raw form. It really gave us Kendrick in his rawest form while he was experimenting with hip-hop, trap,  jazz, soul, & funk-infused sounds all throughout. It gives the listeners a glimpse of his mindset with what they’re feeling and expressing while creating. It’s so dope how a throwaway album can end up being better than other rappers projects.

Coming off the two-year anniversary of Untitled Unmastered,  I was just thinking to myself about how cool it would be if Top Dawg were to take it upon themselves to turn what Untitled Unmastered was into a full series where artists on the roster can showcase their talent and creative process while completing an album. They can as well pick the tracks that didn’t make the final cut of their albums.Maybe it’s just me but there’s so much that can possibly come out of creating an Untitled Unmastered album series with TDE. Here are good reasons why an Untitled Unmastered series should happen and let’s all hope this comes to fruition.

Giving listeners a taste of TDE’s creative process

Could you imagine an Untitled Unmastered album with SZA showcasing her throwaway records created during the CTRL sessions? Or how about Schoolboy Q dropping his own Untitled Unmastered with records for the Blankface sessions?

Starting up a project series like this helps the listeners catch real life glimpse of the creative process towards how albums/projects are made. One of the things I appreciate about the behind the scenes stories on creating albums are the stories that come behind how some records on the albums came to be.



For example, Jermaine Dupri explaining how Usher's U Got it Bad came about on Rap Radar Podcast. JD explained how he and  Rodney Jerkins had fun competition with creating different records. JD was working with Usher while Rodney was working with Michael Jackson. One night while JD and Rodney were on the phone, JD puts it on speaker and it just so happens that Michael Jackson was there and he happened to diss Usher on the phone. That upset JD, who let Rodney know they did a song that same night that was going to blow everything out of the water. That song just so happened to be U Got It Bad. When I hear those stories, it makes me appreciate the work so much more and it adds more value too.

Helps cut album tracklists down

I don’t have anything against albums being re--dropped as deluxe albums. But sometimes i think re-releasing an album just to add some more tracks to it can be a waste sometimes. If you're adding 6-8 tracks on an album, you might as well make that into an EP. That’s where the idea of Untitled Unmastered can fully come into play with showcasing the new music.

Appreciating the talent of TDE roster more

Getty Images

Getty Images

With creating an Untitled Unmastered series, it can also shed light to the other members of the TDE roster who we may feel sometimes are getting looked over. Some artist like Ab Soul, Jay Rock, and Isaiah Rashad don’t get enough acknowledgement sometimes with their music. SZA released one of the top albums of 2017, CTRL. It’s been discussed on numerous occasions how it took her some time to really come up with and create a great body of work. I’m almost certain that some fans wouldn't mind hearing some of those records that didn’t make the final cut of the album. That crew is an all star cast full of artist who stand out in many unique ways. We need to start appreciating these artist more because they don’t come around as often as you would think.

TDE flexing their skills

The Hype Magazine

The Hype Magazine

I know that Top Dawg loves to show and prove with their artist by dropping their music and I love how they let their work speak for itself.

But sometimes when you’ve been putting in the work, sometimes it’s dope to see artist flex their musical muscles every now and then especially when it’s well deserving.


More unreleased Kendrick records

As a fan of Kendrick’s music, the Untitled Unmastered also could us hearing more of the demos that were created during each of his album sessions. There’s already been mention of an O.G. version of Good Kid, M.a.a.d. City existing in TDE hard drives. And Kendrick has mentioned that there was other multiple tracks created during To Pimp a Butterfly that didn’t even make the album nor did it make the original Untitled Unmastered. I love how exclusive Kendrick is when it comes to the music he’s created that hasn’t seen the light of day.

However at the same time, I always want to hear his throwaways that haven't seen the light of day just so i can judge for myself how fire the throwaways are. Because I'm almost certain that im going to comes across a couple of tracks and i’ll be asking, “Damn these records are slamming. Why didnt Top Dawg release these?”