When the 'real' rap debut of Kendrick Lamar, 2003's Young Head Nigga in Charge mixtape, was dropped/leaked earlier this week , the blogging community went wild, clamouring to be a part of a sordid kind of Kendrick feeding frenzy, with numerous notable sites posting up the free download and streams for everyone to listen to. For good reason too, the last few years has seen Lamar's stock rise exponentially due to the release of his many acclaimed offerings and collaborations culminating in his much lauded 2012 album good kid, m.A.A.d city.

One of the main things that can be taken from this early example of his work, recorded in Compton when Kendrick, going under the pseudonym 'K-Dot', was a mere 16 years old, is that genius isn't just born; it is developed, honed and refined over the years. This is obviously a very encouraging point for anyone with a modicum of talent trying to get into music and enter the industry for the first time; people who look at the success and talent that people like Lamar or Kanye West possess, and wonder how, or even if it is still actually possible to emulate that kind of achievement. To those people the answer is "yes, it is possible, it just takes bags of determination, drive and commitment to your art."

With Young Head Nigga in Charge the youthful Lamar delivers a fairly straight up West Coast style, gangsta rap tinged mixtape, that although, for obvious reasons, doesn't come close, in terms or quality, innovation or satisfaction to his other contributions to the Rap and Hip-Hop cannon - notably 2011's master class in backpack 'blog era' rap, Section.80, or the aforementioned good kid, m.A.A.d city, the album that took the raw talent and potential Lamar had shown over the preceding years and distilled it down into a mouth-wateringly potent blend of underground and electronic leaning beats, catchy, accessible hooks and the intoxicatingly heady eloquence that all combined, was beloved almost universally by the Hip-Hop fraternity and the wider public in general alike-it is still a very interesting and insightful glimpse into the mind of one of the genres shining stars at the very beginning of his career before any thoughts of fame, hit records or even potential world domination were even glints in his eye.

Lamar, who wears his influences much more on his sleeve that he has since, especially in terms of flow, delivery and design, rides over beats in a variety of styles, ranging from those in the more 'traditional' funk and soul tinged mould to West Coast, club style tracks, as well as, as mixtape culture dictates, some of the hotter beats out at that moment in time (notably Jay-Z's 'Hovi Baby' or Snoop Dogg's 'Drop it like it's hot').

The lyrical talent that has since catapulted him into the upper echelons of Hip-Hop's governing body, is on show, but is scattered much more thinly than on his later work, probably due to his young age, the mental place he was in at the time and the instrumentals that he was working with. He seemingly can't quite decide what type of rapper he wants to be, the type that makes hook laden club bangers or the more mature, introspective, reflective and self-deprecating rapper we now know him to be. As a result Young Head Nigga in Charge lacks any kind of coherence or anything that could be considered an artistic statement or intention. The tape does however show how far Lamar has come since this 2003 debut. His delivery and flow, even at this age, is varied, full of confidence and swagger, and the work has enough hints of future accessibility, due to his canny ability to write hooks and choruses that stick in your head, and moments of gold plated lyrical dexterity to see why Top Dawg picked him up and have run with his whims ever since and also why, latter on his career, certified hit maker Dr.Dre came a knocking at his door.

Young Head Nigga in Charge is a must for all Kendrick completists as well as anyone else interested in seeing and charting the rise of one of the world's most important Hip-Hop artists.