This week's Friday's Heat features: Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, 2 Chainz, WunTayk Timmy, and GoldLink
“Humble” by Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar is back, he’s got a chip on his shoulder, and he has a message for those false stunters: Be humble. After releasing the fourth chapter of his “The Heart” series last week, Kenny is back in an energetic fashion, acutely stating that his presence and lyrical caliber should humble musical charlatans. His lyrics, flow, wordplay—pretty much everything—exceed the competition, and in case the hook’s proclamation of remaining humble wasn’t overt enough, he lets his lyrical onslaught do the talking.
Par for the course, Kendrick’s verses are densely packed with rewind worthy bars that have competitors reaching for their rhyming dictionaries, and listeners licking their lips in anticipation of his upcoming album, scheduled to drop April 7th. Reflecting the song’s lyrical depth, Kendrick debuted the song with a powerful video that has striking imagery and cinematography.
Directed by Dave Meyers and The Little Homies, the well-produced “Humble” video deepens Kendrick’s artistry, and features our protagonist in a multitude of powerful settings: we see him sitting in Jesus’ seat at the last supper; under a bridge with people at his back as the camera pans in rhythm to the beat, creating an entrancing visual; the best is him sitting in a car as he puts Grey Poupon on his sandwich, and passes it to the folks in the adjacent whip. The video almost alludes to him being untouchable in any artistic medium.
Kendrick competitors, two words of advice: Be humble. Compton’s son returns on April 7th.
“Rockabye Baby” by Joey Bada$$ featuring ScHoolboy Q
We have a lot of new music to look forward to. Of course, we have Kendrick dropping in a week, but the east coast challenger Joey Bada$$ is set to follow-up his 2015 album, B4.DA.$$, with his soon-to-be-released A.B.B.A. Giving fans a preview of what’s to come, he ironically teamed up with Kendrick’s TDE label mate, ScHoolboy Q, for his newest single, “Rockabye Baby.”
Spitting in his characteristic nostalgic ‘90s flow, Joey offers a gang-uniting rhetoric that aims to devalue arbitrary street affiliations, in favor of reinstating a bond amongst black men. In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, Joey implores his people to stand together to attack the real enemy. Fighting each other won’t do anything but give power to their greatest rival.
ScHoolboy Q claims the second verse, and discusses black men’s macro role transition in America. “From gettin' lynched in field into ownin' buildings / Getting millions, influencin' white children / And oddly we still ain't even / Still a small percentage of blacks that's eating,” directly points out the disproportionate level of wealth and influence in the black community. Sure, we see rappers and ball players on TV, but they comprise the margin of American blacks, leaving the majority suffering in a pit of despair, inequality, and poverty.
A.B.B.A. is scheduled to release soon, and should make for an impressive addition in Joey’s already impressive catalogue.
“Wassup Wid It” by DJ Holiday and 2 Chainz
Taking a direct opposite approach as the previous two tracks, 2 Chainz links up with DJ Holiday for the fun, slightly ignorant “Wassup Wid It.” The title artwork says it all: a simple screenshot of a text conversation between Holiday and Titty Boi saying, “Yo…Wassup Wid It.” Succinct, eloquent, direct.
This track serves as 2 Chainz’ reminder to people of his overall high stature, which includes his gold and platinum plaques, his son’s hair in plaits, his college degree, and his ability to lay down the finest pipe game. Sometimes, when people are hating or getting up in your affairs, you need to put them in their place, and remind them of who you are, what you’ve done, and to mind their own motherfuckin’ business.
“Cake” by WunTayk Timmy featuring Bryson Tiller
I’ve been waiting so patiently to start seeing Bryson Tiller’s name again. Ever since I got addicted to T R A P S O U L, I’ve been fiending for his return in any capacity. Although it’s not his song, I’ll take what I can get.
Bryson teamed up with the relatively unknown fellow Louisville native, WunTayk Timmy, on his track, “Cake.” “Cake’s” soulful trap production perfectly complements Bryson’s trap-esque aesthetic that borrows elements from the Atlanta-based sub-genre, while injecting elements of soulful flavor. He beautifully syncopates his flow, discussing his growing confidence that’s accompanying his growing status. Tiller killing this song comes as no shock. The real delightful surprise is the rising WunTayk Timmy.
In an interesting nasally flow, WunTayk doesn’t shy away from competition—this is his track, and he wants to ensure that that’s known. Inter-splicing terse rhyme schemes with elongated bars creates an appealing sonic duality, showcasing WunTayk’s dexterity and promise. The hunger in his voice is palpable. He knows that he still has a lot of work ahead of him, but it doesn't seem like that deters Timmy—it only incentivizes him.
“Roll Call” by GoldLink featuring Mya
If there’s one thing that I can count on, it’s GoldLink delivering a dynamic, multi-textured, attention-commanding track. His unique stylistic approach separates him from the collage of modern rappers, making him more memorable, and his music more impactful. Fresh off his debut album, At What Cost, GoldLink’s offering deepens this sentiment, and one track in particular has caught my attention: “Roll Call” featuring Mya.
GoldLink’s staple hypnotic flow pours beautifully over the Louie Lastic production, and is complemented wonderfully by Mya’s enchanting hook, which pays tribute to one’s roots. GoldLink approaches this track with loud confidence, detailing how his life’s elevated since being introduced to fame. But with this heightened social standing, he seemingly alludes to not being viewed as “real” by his former DC crew, despite him feeling in-touch with himself. The fame and success might have changed his public perception, but he’s still that kid from the nation’s capital.
Go stream At What Cost today.