We live in a world creating and consuming more content than ever before. Every minute of every day, the world generates nearly three million Facebook posts, tweets and Instagram photos, and over two hundred million e-mails. There’s a 24-hour news cycle, infinite blog posts, and an entire history of music that you can now stream instantly from your phone.
We’ve quickly become a scrolling culture, hurriedly swiping through an infinite swath of content that seems to replenish without end.
Dissect was created to counter this cultural shift.
After too often feeling exhausted and unfulfilled from binging my daily digital diet, I wanted to create a platform that forced me to think critically, not passively. I wanted to spend hours with one thing, not a few minutes with a zillion things. And I wanted to reward artists who, in the face of our new consumption habits, continue to craft their work with care, complexity and depth.
And so, Dissect was born: a serialized musi
S1E1 – Compton, K Dot, and Kendrick Lamar
Episode 1 of Dissect examines ‘s To Pimp a Butterfly with the history of Compton, California and Lamar’s transformation from K Dot, a young mixtape rapper, to Kendrick Lamar, a true artist.
S1E2 – good kid, m.A.A.d. city by Kendrick Lamar
Dissect podcast continues its preface of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly with an overview of Lamar’s major label debut good kid, m.A.A.d. city.
good kid, m.A.A.d. city spans one pivotal day in Lamar’s teenage upbringing in Compton, California. The album’s protagonist, Kendrick himself at age 16, is jumped by gangbangers in front of Sherene’s house, Kendrick’s girlfriend at the time. Kendrick and his friends retaliate, leaving one of Kendrick’s best friends dead in his arms.
While debating whether to retaliate once again, Kendrick and his friends are approached by an old woman, who leads the children in the Sinner’s Prayer. This sets Kendrick on a new path, dedicating his life towards family, God, and music.
Thematically, the album explores the idea of a good kid in a mad city and the ways in which one’s environment influences can taint the purity inherent in us all. He also battles to reconcile his love and r
S1E3 – Wesley’s Theory by Kendrick Lamar
We begin our season-long examination of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly with the album’s opening track, Wesley’s Theory.
To Pimp a Butterfly is a concept album that documents Lamar’s journey from caterpillar to butterfly (metaphorically, of course). Wesley’s Theory introduces the album’s protagonist, Kendrick himself, a young, naive rapper that has achieved stardom and escaped from the cocoon of Compton. We also meet the album’s antagonist, Uncle Sam, who looks to exploit young Kendrick for profit.
Through the lens of this song, we’ll cover topics like the American Dream in modern society, the origins of the phrase “40 Acres and a mule”, Dave Chapelle’s exit from his hit TV show, and Wesley Snipes’ tax evasion conviction.
We’ll also examine how Wesley’s Theory is written cinematically and sets the stage for the narrative that unfolds throughout To Pimp a Butterfly.
If you li
S1E4 – For Free? by Kendrick Lamar
continues its season-long examination of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly with the album’s second track “For Free? (Interlude).”
“For Free?” is a personal favorite of mine. It’s songs like this that separate Lamar from his contemporary hip-hop peers. He’s assembled some of the greatest living jazz musicians to back him a raucous, unapologetic critique of the American Dream expressed in a rapid-fire stream of consciousness.
It takes extreme versatility in craft to execute a piece of music of this caliber while still operating within the sphere of popular culture. When I saw Kendrick perform an intimate show at the Fox Theatre in Oakland, he opened with this piece. And the crowd went nuts.
Can we think about this for second? A theatre full of rowdy twenty-somethings went wild about a spoken word piece recited ove