Kendrick Lamar Asks, "Do You Even Love Yourself, Breh?"

As-salamu alaykum, brother.

Not Available Lead
Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

Not Available Lead

Sounds like Carlos Santana lowkey produced Kendrick Lamar’s new single from his upcoming album, Prince Paul’s Boutique 2000, feat. Wyclef Jean and Maroon 5. Just jokes, fam’ron—I kid. Even though “i” is indeed begging for a chorus and gold-selling acoustic cover from Michelle Branch. It's all love, though. Kendrick, I wish you nothing but luck and spins and, if you can spare it, a grittier follow-up single, please.

As for “i,” I’m tempted to diss this Isley Bros. tribute band jam session, if only for love of the absent 808s, synth claps, and gratuitous Drake aria. It’s 2014. If a rap single drops and doesn’t feature trap drums, does it really make a sound? Alas, Kendrick been different. Lately, when he’s not trying iffy crossover features, he’s spazzing over chaos beats that suit him unlike they’d suit any other rapper younger than Black Thought.

And I love myself!

The world is a ghetto with guns and picket signs.

I love myself!

But it can do what it want whenever it wants and I don’t mind.

I love myself!

He said I gotta get up, life is more than suicide.

“Such a positive message!” What an insult! “Positive message” = how we shade Talib Kweli singles that no one likes. Kendrick's pen is confident, his song concept is commendable, and, throwback production aside, K-Dot's bars are immediately contemporary, what, with black boys getting gunned down on CNN live-feed every other month, and the New York Times telling witty, tremendous black women that they ain't nothing but a deadline. And I’m supposed to shrug off "i" as “too earnest, too much”? Pshaw. “I love myself.” I’m here for it, my brother; salaam. “Peace to fashion police, I wear my heart on my sleeve/Let the runway start.” Tug your bowties tight, kufis on tilt, and let’s vroom vroom to the next episode.

Latest in Music