King Kunta - Kendrick Lamar
I’m not going to say anything that hasn’t been said about Kendrick Lamar. He’s got one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year, is probably one of the most famous artists on the planet right now, and did it while creating an album that’s not super accessible.
How To Pimp a Butterfly is a really complex, challenging album. “King Kunta” feels like a microcosm of that. The beat is all over the place, with instruments coming in and out, key changes, the horror movie bassline backing much of the song; it’s amazing that it’s a really coherent track. It’s lyrically dense, but completely understandable. Kendrick’s flow is unique but really accessible.
All those tensions and contradictions remind me a lot of Public Enemy of the early-to-mid 90s. Beats and sounds and lyrics that shouldn’t be listenable, that shouldn’t work, forming a whole that bigger than the sum of its parts.