At this year’s Grammy Awards, Kendrick Lamar earned himself two titles – Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance, both for his 2014 song “i.” The day after the Grammys, the TDE/Black Hippy frontman dropped one hell of a track produced by Boi-1da and Terrace Martin called “The Blacker The Berry.” Both songs do a lot to speak on black culture in contemporary America. The songs also add to the boiling anticipation for the rapper’s follow-up to the now-heralded classic good kid, m.A.A.d. city. This got me to thinking, if we could pick and choose what was to be on K.Dot’s upcoming album, what would it sound like? So I thought about it and wrote just that – what we want to hear on Kendrick’s new album. No more commentary – let us know if you agree in the comments, and what else you’d like to hear on the new record.
Terrace Martin As Executive Producer
Whenever Terrace Martin and Kendrick Lamar get together on a track, the result is always a masterpiece. K.Dot has provided features for Martin on both his Here, My Dear mixtape and 3ChordFold album. Terrace has graced the production credits of both of Kendrick’s studio albums. The two joined forces again on YG’s My Crazy Life and then most recently on Kendrick Lamar’s “The Blacker The Berry.” Whenever both of this musical geniuses create art, it’s that and so much more.
It would be a dream come true to have Terrace Martin executive produce Kendrick Lamar’s new album. I can only assume Dr. Dre and Top Dawg will be on there, too, but for Terrace Martin to have a hand in overseeing the album’s production could probably lead to the next best thing to GKMC. I’d also expect to see Hit-Boy, Sounwave and THC to get back in the studio with Kendrick, as well as other producers. Just imagine, though, the jazzy complex creations of Terrace Martin paired with Kendrick’s unparalleled verses for an album’s worth of material. Exactly.
A Track Featuring Every Member of Black Hippy
Seriously, why has this yet to happen? None of the albums TDE has released as studio records have Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Jay Rock and K.Dot on them. Hopefully our patience will be rewarded with a sort of Black Hippy posse cut on Kendrick’s new album. Not that I wouldn’t enjoy hearing Isaiah Rashad and SZA work with Kendrick on the new project, but a track with every member of the original TDE family is long overdue.
Last year, we were promised six albums from the TDE roster. We got four, and arguably the two most desired by the world were the ones we didn’t get – that of Jay Rock’s solo effort, and Kendrick’s follow up to his critically-acclaimed debut. C’mon, Top Dawg! The least we can get is this long-awaited track.
A Great Pop Song
Staff writer Goose pointed this one out. Sure Kendrick has great singles on many of his projects – “Rigamortis,” “Swimming Pools,” and “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” are just a few of the most notable. But Kendrick has yet to have a career-defining single, and that’s ok in some regard because when you think about it, many rappers break the charts with career-lasting hits on their second or third studio albums. Jay-Z had “Izzo (Hova),” Kanye had “Gold Digger,” Eminem had “The Real Slim Shady,” etc.
It’s not that these artists didn’t have hit songs before the ones I mentioned, but these ones are still among their most notable tracks that even non-rap fans can probably recognize. Now that Kendrick is more commercially accepted than he was leading up to the release of GKMC, maybe his next album will feature that hit that stays with him for years beyond its initial release. Many may argue he’s already released that song. Most likely “i” will show up on the album, and maybe it will be that single – but both Goose and I doubt that. I can imagine Kendrick has something great cooking up and maybe he will make his “Stronger,” or his “Headlines.”
No In-Depth Storyline
Because whatever story that might be present will inevitably be compared to the cinematic story of good kid, m.A.A.d city. As of right now, the trajectory of Kendrick’s lyrical palette seams to revolve around something similar to 2011’s “HiiiPower.” I can also anticipate a similarity between Kendrick’s new album, and D’Angelo‘s latest LP, Black Messiah.
Both “i” and “The Blacker The Berry” allow Kendrick to speak on everything that has been going on in American black culture in recent times. The troubling police situation, crime and violence still persisting in inner-cities. Kendrick is never one to bite his tongue, but he is one to be smart about what he says, and he preaches wisdom far beyond his years on the aforementioned singles. While a storyline is undetectable at this point, these tracks could not be further apart sonically. Thus, it would be best for Kendrick to curate music that is more based on messages rather than intricacies.
Another Flying Lotus Collaboration
This one definitely isn’t a far shot. Back before Flying Lotus‘ You’re Dead! dropped in the fall of 2014, the electronic producer/musical wizard told the story of how Kendrick came to record with FlyLo alone. That was a cool move, but the best part of the story was when FlyLo said Kendrick took a ton of his beats. Where are those beats now? How many has Kendrick rhymed on? How many will we get to hear? If “Never Catch Me” is any indication, another collaboration between these two musical Einsteins is an easy take for another work of genius.
An important part of their collaboration would be the sonic element, however (duh). Kendrick sounded great in context of Flying Lotus’ album; but remember when Mac Miller rapped on a FlyLo track on the former’s album, Watching Movies With The Sound Off? It was weird and didn’t fit the vibe of the rest of the album, despite how buzzy and unique Mac Miller’s new found sound was. Kendrick has a good ear for beats, so if there is to be another Flying Lotus collaboration to come, I bet that it will fit with the rest of the album like the perfect piece of the puzzle.