Kendrick Lamar’s new track “Humble.” is a provocative criticism of his peers, mixing instructional disses and self-inflating comparisons with a catchy, singable hook.
The beat, which was developed by Mike WiLL Made-It, was initially intended for Gucci Mane. Mike Will later showed it to Lamar in the hopes that the rapper would be interested in recording over the unusual beat. The producer talked about how the collaboration came together with NPR:
With “HUMBLE.,” I knew that beat was going to capture a moment. It just felt real urgent. I made that beat [last year] when Gucci Mane was getting out of jail; I made it with him in mind. I was just thinking, damn, Gucci’s about to come home; it’s got to be something urgent that’s just going to take over the radio. And I felt like that beat was that. I ended up not doing it with Gucci and I let Kendrick hear it. I was thinking, if Dot gets on this it’ll be his first time being heard on some[thing] like this. At the same time, it kind of has an NWA / Dr. Dre feel, an Eminem kind of feel. So I thought, let me see if Dot f**** with it. And he heard the beat and he liked it. But he was about to give me “HUMBLE.” for [my album] Ransom 2. I love that song so I was like, ‘Man, hell yeah.’ Then he told me that his team was saying he should keep it. And I told him, ‘Bruh, you definitely should keep it, and you should use it as your single.’
The music video features several moments of religious symbolism, picturing Lamar in a cope towards the beginning, and in a Last Supper-like setting that is interspersed throughout. There is also a theme of conformity, showing Lamar looking upwards amongst a crowd of bowed bald heads and later dressed in white surrounded by a solemn group in formal attire.
For more, check out Kendrick Lamar’s Zumic artist page.