Kendrick Lamar is one of the most important hip-hop artists of this decade. His album To Pimp a Butterfly (2015) was fully acclaimed by the critics and the next DAMN. (2017) won the Pulitzer Prize for Music. This album presents an introspective Lamar and important collaborations with artists as U2, Rihanna, James Blake, and Zacari. Combining drum machines with groovy bass lines (the bass on “FEEL.” was recorded by Thundercat), the beats of the tracks create a connection between the past and the future: old-school rap meets trap music. The extraordinary and deep lyrics tell the full story of this masterpiece, with some of Lamar’s best writing and performances.
Here are the transcriptions of some of the most remarkable drum beats of the album.
The great flow of Lamar is accompanied by a 16th note groove, the open and closed hi-hat and the bass drum pattern provide a hip-hop/trap beat.
This is one of my favorite tracks. The main groove for “FEEL.” is a Bossa nova, a loop of two bars repeated until the end (with some variations). The cymbal pattern is also played on the ride, overdubbed on the recording.
“HUMBLE.” is an old-school rap song with a trap beat. Putting together the hi-hat and the bass drum part can be tricky, keep on drumming!
Featuring Bono Vox on vocals, and written with the collaboration of the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr., the interlude of this song (02:34) has a brilliant slow groove, something you can play for an hour without stopping. Listen carefully to the original song to understand the beautiful feel of this groove.
Here you can download the pdf file including all the transcriptions.