A large portion of the hip hop/rap industry and it’s fans have a secret agreement that Kendrick Lamar is the greatest rapper of our generation. The Compton rapper never fails to deliver. Good kid, maad city has a 91 out of 100 rating by Metascore and was considered the best rap album of it’s year. His 2015 To Pimp A Butterfly has a 96 rating, an album overflowing with racial, social and economic issues. Widely considered one of the most important rap albums of recent years. Couple this with a slew of consistent features, it’s hard to deny K.Dot G.O.A.T status.
Kendrick represents a semblance of the golden era rap while maintaining a modern pop appeal. He has cultural influence in a way not many other artists can claim to have. He uses this stage as a platform to address beef with other rappers, also a very talked about “United” States president. KDot takes shots at Drake(hiphopdx refers to this beef as the “Cold War of Hip Hop”) , Big Sean(Which seems like overkill to be honest because Sean is no where near Dot’s league – who am i kidding? – I love it). Donald Trump and his administration’s ties to the Russian government don’t escape scrutiny by King Kendrick.
Drake and Kendrick Lamar are often the two rappers left standing in the hotly debated “G.O.A.T” discussion. I can tell you why I think Drake shouldn’t even be there, He’s a pop star. Views was a pop album(hiphopdx gave Views a 2.9 out 5 as a rap album compared to To Pimp A Butterfly’s 5.0 out of 5). Regardless of your opinion on Drake’s use of ghostwriters, the fact that Kendrick writes his own verses adds to his credit as a “true” artist. This verse was definitely referring to Drake alluding to KDot on For Free, He doesn’t stop there though. He takes Drake’s words for a test drive –
“Tables turned, lesson learned, my best look
You jumped sides on me, now you ’bout to meet Westbrook
Go celebrate with your team and let victory vouch you
Just know, the next game played I might slap the shit out you
Technical foul, I’m flagrant, I’m foul
They throwin’ me out, you throw in the towel“
Very clearly aimed at Drake. A rework of verse on Pound Cake.
King Kendrick takes aim at Big Sean on numerous occasions, the most obvious being this verse –
The use of lil’ and Big Pun are very clear a play on Big Sean’s name. Kendrick decimates Sean in this track. Unfortunately Big Sean is no where near the calibre of rapper to put a good rebuttal. Sean will just have to take this L. Don’t get me wrong though, I thoroughly enjoyed Dark Sky Paradise and the very recent I Decided. But when it comes to Kendrick vs. Anyone, I think the only real contender might be Andre 3000 who is yet to offer a solo project since Outkast broke up(patiently awaiting a surprise project. It’s a long shot).
Hip Hop and Rap music is quite possibly at the dawn of a resurgence of Protest music. A kin to N.W.A . YG flipped Trump the finger in FDT and Eminem called Trump “a b#tch” on Big Sean’s No Favours. Trump seems to be a common enemy within the hip hop industry, A common enemy that could possibly unite frayed artists (3stacks and Big Boi, we waiting).
The first lines are self explanatory, Trump has caused nothing but chaos since coming into power, He continues to create division. The second line very clearly is a reference to the FBI’s investigation into the Trump Administration’s connections to Russia and President Vladimir Putin. If you have spent 2 minutes on any social media site you would know quite a bit about this situation.
King Kendrick once again sets his sights on Drake with the final two verses, simultaneously announcing the release date for his fourth album –
“My spot is solidified if you ask me (What else?)
My name is identified as “That King”
I’ll let y’all worry about a list, I’m on some other shit
A difference between accomplishments and astonishments”
King Kendrick boldly states that he is above a” top 5″ or “top 3” list, He is the greatest and what I think is a reference to Drake’s streaming records i.e “accomplishments and astonishments”. April 7th seems to be an obvious date for his next record. Which would mean it would be in contention with Drake’s More Life on the charts. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top. Will Drake’s pop appeal trump Kendrick’s lyrical consciousness ? I don’t have the answers(yet).
The Heart Part 4 features a slew of different beats and rhythmical scope from producers – The Alchemist, DJ Dahi, Syk Sense and Axl Folie. The track features 4 very different turn arounds, each very in tone but in doing so add a wide range to Kendrick’s flow and appeal. Bakcground vocals feature a very surprising feature from El Paso RnB singer Khalid(I am a huge Khalid fan). Sonically varied and lyrically explosive.
Soulful at times, trapping at others and aggressive in nature – King Kendrick very clearly stakes his claim as the best rapper alive, but never forgetting the larger conscious purpose. Introspective and urgent. Is King Kendrick the rhyme saviour?