In ‘The Heart Part 4,’ Kendrick Lamar alluded to an April 7th release date for his 4th album–still, so far, untitled. After the release of ‘Humble,’ that date couldn’t come any more quickly. In “Humble,” Kendrick Lamar instructs his peers to sit back and watch as he continues to affirm his status as the greatest rapper alive. This may be preemptive but, this might be my favorite rap track of all time. I haven’t felt the way I felt after listening to ‘Humble’ since I first discovered Illmatic as a teenager. Here’s why:
While the elevated level of content and jazzy-funk instrumentation presented, and presented beautifully, on To Pimp A Butterfly was mesmerizing, with this track, Kendrick returns to the style that brought him FM notoriety on Good Kid M.A.A.D City. While the beats on TPAB were fluid and artistic, the beat on ‘Humble’ is nasty. The lyricism is, as expected, at the level of (or supersedes) the likes of Kanye or Tupac. What separates Kendrick is his delivery. In ‘Humble,’ he touches on his upbringing in Compton, reminiscent of M.A.A.D City, and calmly asserts himself as rap’s new young pope. Yet he is still able to maintain his sort of rebel status–the type of status damaged by his past collaboration with a certain blonde country-pop singer “songwriter.” He crucifies the proliferation of digital celebrity on his second verse–a direct refutation of the ‘Kardashian culture.’ Below, you’ll see the unverified tracklist for his upcoming album, leaked earlier this past week. What is interesting is the amount of features and collaborations by bigger names–something absent on his last release but somewhat apparent on ‘Good Kid M.A.A.D City.’ Reconnecting with his disciples, essentially. I’m particularly hyped for the Anderson .Paak collab.
1. Purple Hibiscus – produced by Sounwave & Terrace Martin
2. Counterfeit – produced by Rahki & Taz Arnold
3. Trust Everyone – produced by DJ Dahi, Terrace Martin & Thundercat
4. Delusional (Like You Haven’t) – featuring Anderson .Paak & Anna Wise, produced by Sounwave
5. Product – featuring André Benjamin, produced by Kanye West & Taz Arnold
6. Richard Nixon – produced by LoveDragon
7. None of Your Business – featuring Anna Wise, Kanye West & Q-Tip, produced by DJ Dahi, Kanye West & Sounwave
8. Double Standards – produced by LoveDragon & Rahki
9. If You Had Me, You Lost Me (Interlude) – produced by Flying Lotus & Mono/Poly
10. Commercialized, Failed Experiments – produced by Alchemist, Cardo & Swizz Beatz
11. Ten Steps – featuring Bilal, D’Angelo, & Thundercat, produced by Sounwave & Terrace Martin
12. Paranoia, Is Love Stronger Than Death? – produced by K.L. & LoveDragon
13. Rest in Paradise (Interlude) – produced by Terrace Martin
14. Swim with the Fishes (God Said) – produced by Sounwave & Terrace Martin
As if ‘Humble’ weren’t already epic enough, the music video is an intoxicating exercise. The visuals are sophisticated and deep, and take the track to an even higher level, displaying Kendrick at the helm of Da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper,’ a fitting artistic allusion.
I’m walking to the Emporium, a venue in Wicker Park (Chicago), to talk to Less Is More–a cool folk duo from East Lansing, Michigan.
Their interview will be on the next episode of our podcast, but I figured I’d share one of their tracks and a bit of their story as well.
As a band that began based in a relationship (Brian and Jane, the principal members, have been dating for a few years), their identity has been based upon the love they share for each other, which they share with their following through their art. As apparent in the interview (conducted in the backstage women’s bathroom), the band has since began a different journey in their identity, however, for old times sake here is a video of one of their more popular songs, before they transition into a new project.
Keep an eye out for them, because they convinced me they are going to do even bigger and better things.
Here’s a video of them performing at Calvin College–enjoy.