It would not be outlandish to claim that Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar is the greatest eighties baby ever to pick up a microphone. His flow effortlessly glides through different vocal registers, the rhythmic patterns of his verses skittering frantically around each other. His language is vivid and abstract, his narrative perspective subtly shifting. He even often layers two or three differently pitched takes on top of one other, allowing himself to find a tonal Netherworld seldom reached by other rappers.
Listening to “Until the Quiet Comes” is like entering an abandoned townhouse in a post-industrial city and shuffling through each past resident’s old belongings: it is at once playful and eerie, ecstatic and melancholy. Lotus explores a diverse collection of melodic themes, refracting them through grating, dissonant synths, frenetic drum patterns, and dissected vocal samples.
Fast forward to 2012, and after a strong feature on Kanye West’s smash single “Mercy” and the release of his stellar mixtape “Detroit,” Sean has arrived in a unique position. He has built a cult following on the strength of his innuendo-smothered witticisms, but also parlayed it into a strong crossover buzz—recently collaborating with Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown and Justin Bieber—with little compromise on style or delivery.