Since “His Pain“, I’ve been introducing more and more Kendrick Lamar into my rap diet lately, and I’ve been enjoying the effects. I wouldn’t say it’s been a very balanced diet, however, I’ve mostly just been binging on this song of his over and over again at very high volumes.
Kendrick Lamar – Cartoons & Cereal (feat. Gunplay)
For me, it has the intensity of a Waka Flocka song, but concentrated through the laser beam focus of a Scarface song, and the very non-traditional song structure and length are extremely refreshing to me in the current state of quantity-over-quality mass-production rap. I can get down with some by-the-book shit like anybody else can, but stuff like “Cartoons and Cereal” comes as an extremely welcome shift in style without abandoning the unpretentiousness of subject matter that makes street rap so appealing.
Since I’ve been putting this effort into Kendrick lately, I’ve also taken some time in giving some of his friends a more serious listen too, and since his friend and label-mate Ab-Soul just came out with his first solo album, and the video for his song “Empathy” is absolutely beautiful, I thought that might be a good one for me to delve into. I have to admit that on first listen, the very beginning of the album wasn’t speaking to me, but then track 4 hit me with the perfect formula to make me start liking it.
Ab-Soul – Terrorist Threats (feat. Danny Brown & Jhené Aiko)
Did you hear the “BRRRRR!!” and “BLOW! BLOW!” from “Cartoons and Cereal“? If you didn’t, you probably at least noticed the very interesting production on the track, or maybe this really awesome opening line:
Out my window all I see is Babylon!
On the news all I see is Babylon!
And all niggas do is just babble on…
Or maybe the little Jhené Aiko “Kick yo game, spit yo flow…” intro caught your attention because of this classic.
Jay-Z – Nigga What, Nigga Who? (Originator 99) (feat. Amil & Big Jaz)
Or maybe there’s something altogether different you noticed about the song. If so, you know how the internet works, post a damn comment!