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Dissect

Author: Cole Cuchna | Spotify

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Named “Best Podcast of 2018” by The New York Times, Dissect examines a single album per season, forensically dissecting the music, lyrics, and meaning of one song per episode.

*Currently dissecting Kendrick Lamar's DAMN. (Season 5).*

Past seasons include Flower Boy by Tyler, the Creator (S4), Blonde by Frank Ocean (S3), My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West (S2), To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar (S1), and Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (MS1).
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Today we begin our 8 episode mini-series on of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. We start with Ms. Hill's upbringing in New Jersey, her rise with The Fugees, and the events leading up to the creation of Miseducation. Follow @dissectpodcast on Twitter and Instagram. Subscribe to our newsletter at dissectpodcast.com.
Ms. Lauryn Hill begins Miseducation with a dualistic examination of heartbreak. "Lost Ones" is a scathing, venomous assault while "Ex Factor" reveals the pain beneath Ms. Hill's harden exterior.Follow @dissectpodcast on Twitter and Instagram. Join our newsletter at dissectpodcast.com.
Ms. Lauryn Hill's timeless ballad "To Zion" tells a powerful story about the birth of her first child. We dive deep into its lyrics and discover how its harmonic structure reflects the song's themes of uncertainty.Follow @dissectpodcast on Twitter and Instagram. Join our newsletter at dissectpodcast.com.
Ms. Lauryn Hill's "Doo Wop (That Thing)" synthesizes hip-hop with 1950s doo wop music. We trace the parallel histories of these two musical genres before our line-by-line analysis of the cautionary message Ms. Hill presents in her chart topping single.Follow @dissectpodcast on Twitter and Instagram. Join our newsletter at dissectpodcast.com.
We continue our serialized analysis of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill with two songs cut from the same thematic cloth. With both "Superstar" and "Final Hour," Ms. Hill calls out the superficial materialism and ego in hip-hop, frequently citing scripture as she warns her peers about their final day of judgement.Follow @dissectpodcast on Twitter and Instagram. Join our newsletter at dissectpodcast.com.
We dissect a trio of songs in which Ms. Lauryn Hill presents a micro-narrative of heartbreak and forgiveness, a turning point in Miseducation's loose narrative. After establishing her pain on "When It Hurts So Bad", Ms. Hill turns her life over to god on "I Used to Love Him" and works toward forgiveness with the song "Forgive Them Father." Follow @dissectpodcast on Twitter and Instagram. Join our newsletter at dissectpodcast.com.
Our serialized analysis of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill continues with "Nothing Even Matters" and "Everything is Everything." Having submitted herself to god, Ms. Hill displays the tranquility, acceptance, and maturity she's acquired through the life lessons she learned outside the classroom.Follow @dissectpodcast on Twitter and Instagram. Join our newsletter at dissectpodcast.com.
We conclude our eight episode deep dive into The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.Want to know the subject of Season 4 of Dissect? Follow @dissectpodcast on Twitter and Instagram for clues over the break.
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
Episode 1 of Dissect examines Kendrick Lamar‘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.
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
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
Dissect – A Serialized Music Podcast 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
Dissect – A Serialized Music Podcast continues its season-long examination of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly with the album’s third track “King Kunta.”“King Kunta” is perhaps the album’s most unabashed tribute to the pervading funk influences throughout To Pimp A Butterfly. On its surface, King Kunta is boastful, heroic, prideful, and at times, vain. Upon further examination, however, we’ll realize there’s a deeper, contrasting message to the song’s calculated, overtly valiant air. We’ll also discover that “King Kunta” is the pinnacle of the album’s first act, which we’ve named Pimped by Consumption.If you’ve enjoyed Dissect so far, consider rating us on iTunes. It really helps.
Our season-long examination of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly continues with the album’s fourth track Institutionalized.After the introduction to the album’s ever-important narrative poem, Kendrick begins to unpack the complexities of his new life of stardom. It begins with Institutionalized, a bouncing, head-nodding track that details Kendrick’s frustrations with his Compton friends’ behavior at the BET awards.By naming the song Institutionalized, Kendrick alludes to broader issues that plague our country and manifest in the behavior of the impoverished and repressed population. Before dissecting this song, I believed minorities faced residual discrimination still resonating from our nation’s dark history. But until I researched institutional racism for this episode, I didn’t understand its complexities and
Dissect’s season-long analysis of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly continues with the album’s fifth track “These Walls.”On “These Walls,” Kendrick speaks of various metaphoric walls to express the confinements of vice. It interweaves a complex threesome between Kendrick, an unnamed woman, and an imprisoned man serving a life sentence. Each deals with their own personal set of constricting walls that work to prohibit personal progress.Upon first listen, “These Walls” is a similar experience to “King Kunta.” It’s so infectiously danceable and enjoyable that the intricacies of the story it tells is easily lost. But this only works to exemplify Kendrick’s extraordinary talent to craft radio-ready singles without sacrificing the album’s narrative or its ability to stand on its own under scrutiny. It’s only after thorough examination that one realizes its intricacies.“Thes
S1E8 – u by Kendrick Lamar

S1E8 – u by Kendrick Lamar

2016-10-0400:27:405

We continue our serialized examination of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly with the album’s next track “u.”“u” is the album’s emotional rock bottom. It’s one of the most gripping, emotionally vulnerable records in hip-hop. It’s a confrontation of inner demons and insecurities told with an honesty rarely found in the genre.If forced, I’d have to say “u” is my favorite song on To Pimp a Butterfly. From the unique production and musicianship, the metaphoric division of the song’s structure, the foley sounds of clinking bottles, and the moving execution of its heart-wrenching lyrics, “u” is a crowning achievement on one of the best album’s of all time.Being a native of Sacramento, California, it’s an added bonus that the second half of “u” was produced by relatively unknown Sacramento musician Whoarei, who was found through his
We continue our serialized examination of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly with the album’s next track “Alright.”In the context of the album’s narrative, “Alright” takes place the morning after the drunken confession heard on the previous song “u.” After a therapeutic confrontation of his demons, it seems Kendrick has awoken with a more optimistic outlook and seems determined to overcome his anxieties.Outside of the album, “Alright” has been adopted as an unofficial anthem of the Black Lives Matter movement. The song’s simple message of hope through solidarity and resilience has struck a chord with supporters of the movement, and the refrain “we gon be alright” has been heard chanted at protests and rallies across the country.While Black Lives Matter is an ongoing movement, let’s think back to the time of To Pimp a Butterfly’s release in March 2015. Just three months prior, the decision not to indict the officer who kil
Our season long examination of To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar continues with the album’s eighth song “For Sale? (Interlude).”Whereas the album’s second track “For Free?” was an external reaction to the seductive lures of Uncle Sam, the American Dream incarnate, “For Sale?” is the internal reaction to seductive lures of Lucy, the Devil incarnate.The contrast of “For Free?” and “For Sale?” starts to reveal the intricacies of the album’s overall narrative structure. While we’ve seen examples of the contrasting duality theme on a small scale in individual songs, we’ll now begin to see it appear in large scale between entire songs.“For Sale?” takes place in Kendrick’s subconscious while he dreams. The majority of the song is told from the perspective of Lucy as she recounts the first time her and Kendrick met. It turns out, Lucy and Uncle Sam have a lot in
Our season long examination of To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar continues with the album’s ninth track “Momma.”On “Momma,” Kendrick returns home to Compton for the second time on the album. On his first return, he gloated about his success and status on the song “King Kunta.” This time around Kendrick shows signs of maturation. He’s reflective, nostalgic. Having been through the trauma of “u” and the hypnotic seduction of “For Sale?,” home is now a place of grounding comfort that helps Kendrick in his search for clarity and contentment.On verse three, Kendrick returns to another, more metaphoric home: Africa. He recounts an experience in South Africa in which he feels an inert kinship with a boy there. It forces Kendrick to reconsider his entire identity and sends him spinning into an existential crisis that’s reflected in the song’s abstract outro.By its conclusion, “Mom
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Comments (62)

Promaxius

Did he forget to mention 9thWonder?

Nov 28th
Reply (1)

TC

Why bother?

Nov 1st
Reply

Gavin Milligan

shoulda done mac millers swimming, instead of repeating Kendrick. still excited tho

Oct 8th
Reply

Andre

In How much does a dollar cost, what interview is that by kendrick lamar at the end where he's talking about love and god

Oct 7th
Reply

smash the kyriarchy

again, generally appreciate and enjoy this season. at the same time, this episode is another classic example of a cishet man being out of his depth and unequipped to meaningfully dissect/unpack/deconstruct sexual orientation outside of heterosexuality. people can be bisexual - as in, the love interest maybe actually wants to be with the girl cuz... he likes her and is attracted to her? he could just not be out about being bisexual and the whole "take your mask off" would still apply.

Aug 20th
Reply

smash the kyriarchy

cant help but cringe at two lightskinned cishet dudes attempting to deconstruct a black gay/bi/queer man's work. generally enjoyed season 4, but yall are not equipped to meaningfully unpack the themes of sexual orientation by sheer lack of lived experience. cant even name the LGBTQ community lol... apparently we are just "that community".

Aug 20th
Reply

Xavier Doc Jenkins

Dig the analysts but the B in LGBT is not just a stepping stone.

Aug 12th
Reply (1)

Kababiito Tracy

Never stop dissecting,you restore hope within me and many other people ❤️🙏🏾

Jul 28th
Reply

Tiff

Also, the fact that it's ELTON JOHN that sings at the end!! Who also had a "shooting star" type of intro to the celebrity life. Who also drowned himself in drugs and alcohol and sex to escape his reality. Chilling

Jul 26th
Reply (1)

Paul

Great podcast with thoughtful commentary.

Jul 2nd
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Promaxius

This breakdown is phenomenal, and it makes me appreciate the album so much more than I already did.

Jun 18th
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Promaxius

Truly an inspiration to all. Kendrick Lamar asked, "When shit hits the fan, is you still a fan?" This absolutely applies to the tragedies that fell onto Lauryn Hill. She was and still is a visionary, and she deserves all the respect and love in the world.

Jun 14th
Reply

Gavin Milligan

great conversation

May 24th
Reply

Gavin Milligan

way to give everyone blue balls

Apr 12th
Reply

Renee Zamora

Aaaah.... The Queen...Selah🙏🏾🙌🏿🙏🏽🙌🏿

Feb 23rd
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Ljsmom

Awesome podcast, could you plz dissect an Eminem album?

Jan 10th
Reply

Jordanm

preach

Dec 31st
Reply

🦑 suprising cameo character 🦑🏳️‍🌈

If you like music you need to hear this, it changes the way you consume music

Nov 25th
Reply

🦑 suprising cameo character 🦑🏳️‍🌈

This episode was fantastic thank you!

Nov 25th
Reply

Jason G.

Disect

Nov 24th
Reply (1)
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