Two years later and ducking a bombardment of fan impatience, sophomore-slump prophecies, and inactivity accusations, 27-year-old Kendrick Lamar has certainly been feeling the pressure, post-good kid, m.A.A.d. city.
Not known for the breaking of promises, however, the Compton-rooted K-Dot has chosen to manage this stress in the healthiest of possible ways: by dropping a brand-new single.
To start, let’s glorify “i”s atypically perfect backdrop: an Isley Brothers sample (the timeless, 1973 sultry-disco single “That Lady”), which funkifies the small-but-mighty Kendrick and files down his jagged edges. Think “Control” verse–in sunny, Motown form.
There are no ‘DOOT-DOOT-DOOT-DOOT’ Kendrick-gun-impressions to be found. No Sherane. And no somber street tales or darkness. And a break from this usual heaviness proves soothing…
“i” may be just another cliche Kendrick realness-testimonial to some, but all it takes is further investigation of the hook’s echo, “I love myself“, to discover that the rapper’s anchor is not self-absorption, but a strong shot of spirituality…
“I done been through a whole lot
Trial, tribulations, but I know God
Satan wanna put me in a bow tie
Praying that the holy water don’t go dry…”
While much of his handiwork classifies as trophy-tracks, edgier flaunts of rhyme abilities and flow extraordinaire–this particular Kendrick joint daps the Man Upstairs and blesses the faith that grounds him. A little ray of K-Dot sunshine, you might call it…
“Dreams of realities peace, blow steam in the face of the beast
The sky can fall down, the wind can cry now
The strong in me, I still smile…”
Album #2 ETA or not…whatever direction Kendrick’s looking, the positivity–and potential–are blinding.