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Year Released: 1996

"The Blacker the Berry" let the world know that Kendrick Lamar had a lot on his mind. He held nothing back on the record, and even provoked my colleague to say Kendrick was making the "blackest record since Watch the Throne." The same fury that exists on that record is toned down on other parts of To Pimp a Butterfly, but he never compromises the stances that he takes. The listeners who are moved by his message on the track, and the album overall, might be inclined to check out Ras Kass' 1996 album, Soul on Ice. The work gets its title from the 1968 novel of the same name written by Eldridge Cleaver, who was a member of the Black Panthers.

If "The Blacker the Berry" had you bubbling, then Ras Kass' seven-minute-long history lesson on "Nature of the Threat" and subsequent bars on the album's title track take things to another level. Basically, if you're angry as hell about things that are going on in America, then Ras Kass' record serves as an outlet for all of those emotions.