Kendrick Lamar wasted no time in releasing new music following his 'Best Rap Performance' and 'Best Rap Song' awards at the Grammys this past weekend. The Compton-bred MC is back with a searing single that pushes the sonic boundaries of hip-hop as much as it pushes the controversial topic of racial profiling.
Following the killing of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown, the rap world has been in a shaky place. While addressing white-on-black racism, Kendrick Lamar sets the song up to demonstrate that a portion of the black community is hypocritical in their outrage, because gangs are still playing catalyst in black-on-black homicide. It all snaps in to place on the song's final lines, "So why did I weep when Trayvon Martin was in the street? When gang banging make me kill a nigga blacker than me? Hypocrite!"
The message is touchy and certainly a lot to digest. The fact that hip-hop's most prominent star (sorry Kanye) is positioning himself in such a unique way is profound. It will be interesting to see how the public digests and responds to such a fascinating song.
In addition to the message, the tune is thoroughly strong. Boi-1da's beat is eerie and raunchy, playing the perfect role in creating such an uncomfortably divine track. The dancehall chorus may give you flashbacks to Yeezus, and that's because it is in fact the same artist featured on "I'm In It." Assassin is the artist's name, and his contributions to these tracks can been seen as a part in a renaissance period of dancehall infiltrating American hip-hop.
As the track comes to a close, it enters a palette-cleansing jazz interlude reminiscent of the style Kendrick displayed alongside Thundercat and Bilal on The Colbert Report back in December. Of course, this is all just to warm us up for the yet-to-be-titled studio album due out later this year.
For Kendrick Lamar's latest music, news, and tour dates, check out their Zumic artist page.