Apparently, Kendrick Lamar Loves Himself
If Pirus and Crips all got along, they’d probably... have Kendrick Lamar’s new single “I” stuck in their heads. The song is catchy, with a bubbly chorus that seems tailor made for an ESPN best-of montage. Has the self-proclaimed (multiple times) “best in the rap game” gone from channeling the streets of Compton to channeling Pharrel? Kendrick’s new single may preview a change from his aggressive 2012 classic good kid m.A.A.d city. The 90’s style production and atmospheric ambiance of good kid made it an instant hit in the rap scene. Kendrick made the listener feel like they were riding shotgun with him in his white Toyota, as bullets whiz past. Beats flowed right over Kendrick’s words in perfect timing, building from line to line. Great examples of this are both “Backseat Freestyle” and “Sherane”.
While aggression and slick production values don’t define good hip hop, they were Kendrick’s thing. He did it best, especially in the great story that is the titular track “m.A.A.d city”. “I” features slick production for sure, but comes off as a very different Kendrick. Frankly, it comes off as just Kendrick’s voice. The song defies a bunch of his trademarks, most notably catchy choruses. The song becomes very predictable. The only break from monotony comes at the breakdown around 2:15.
I would be absolutely happy if this song is just one of the diverse tracks that composes Kendrick’s new album. If this is the direction he is heading in as an artist though, then I will be seriously shocked at how much he changed from good kid. If you remember the buzz that Kendrick drew from his verse in “Control”, you’d be pretty let down if this is his top game right now. “I” is an identity crisis.
But with how versatile Kendrick makes his albums and the story they tell, “I” might be a piece to a bigger puzzle I am just ignorant of. You really can’t judge a Kendrick single because how he intertwines the messages and characters of his whole album. Good Kid m.A.A.d city case in point…
Check back when his next album comes out for my updated opinion!
P.S- To further cement my position, I tagged this article as Pop.