By Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)
Comparing yourself to a religious symbol is usually bound to result in you becoming an infamous figure. If you need an example then just take a look at Kanye‘s Rolling Stone Cover where he not so subtly recreated the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Unsurprisingly this made Mr West public enemy number one in the eyes of many Christians, something which has continued when he repeatedly announces himself as a god.
So as Kendrick Lamar donned pope robes for the music video accompanying new single Humble, his second track in the space of a week following The Heart Part 4, you would have expected him to maybe take a second to reconsider his attire. Throughout this track, though, Kendrick isn’t concerned with the thoughts of others as we get an abundance of braggadocious bars that the Compton rapper hasn’t really channeled since his second studio album Good Kid, m.A.A.d city.
However, this isn’t depicted solely by visuals: right off the bat, Kendrick takes on the role of a preacher as he proclaims “wicked or weakness, you gotta see this” over what can only be described as squeaky distorted guitars that get you riled up after mere seconds of hearing them. Consider this intro your only bit of breathing space though as Kendrick unapologetically reinforces himself as one of, if not the greatest rapper alive, not simply asking but demanding for everyone to keep their attention focussed on him.
Accompanied by the punchiest 808 bass line you’ll hear this year along with a catchy piano riff, this is the first witnessing of Kendrick‘s departure of the jazz-fuelled sound that can be found all over To Pimp A Butterfly and untitled.unmastered. Not only this but the lyrics seem to channel a lot more of the narrative that carried the aforementioned Good Kid, m.A.A.d city with Kendrick spouting lines about his youth surrounded by gang affiliations and cheap grub before he begins to brag about money and sex with one of the wittiest albeit cheesiest lines of the year so far (parmesan where my accountant lives).
While it would be easy to call this off as a dumbed-down version of what he’s provided before, Kendrick seems to be well aware of the hypocrisy in what he’s saying: after all, we shouldn’t put past this intentional juxtaposition past him when he’s recreating The Last Supper while hitting out with “sit down, be humble“. Speaking of that hook, it’ll be impossible for you to get it out of your head and may very well be to 2017 what “pimp pimp, hooray” was to 2016.
Religious garments and firing shots (R.I.P Drake?) aside, if To Pimp A Butterfly‘s jazz and funk infused sound wasn’t your cup of tea then Humble is sure to have you falling back in love with Kendrick. Even if you’ve been a fan of his last two releases, this latest single will have you drooling at the mouth for what will drop next: remember, we’ve only got till April 7th to get our shit together.