Producer: Tae Beast, Sounwave, Thundercat
Album: To Pimp a Butterfly

Kendrick is at his best when he regresses and speaks through his younger self. “Hood Politics” takes that no-filter POV and lays it out widescreen, like he’s in the hull of a panopticon and shit is bananas: “Slow motion for the ambulance, the project filled with cameras.” Petty beefs turn perilous, popo is everywhere, Kendrick’s in the cut doing his thing—until he gets caught up. The hook here is a taunt—ya mans, ya ends, ya girl, they’re all booboo—except Kendrick knows hood politics is a distraction, so he takes it macro and names a common enemy, the “DemoCrips and ReBloodlicans.” We last heard Kendrick blowing booboo raspberries on Overly Dedicated’s “Cut You Off (to Grow Closer),” a song about clawing your way out of onerous circumstances. “Hood Politics” is both wry victory and a stylistic feat—he starts with a single pixel before pulling back on the whole, brilliant canvas. —Anupa Mistry