The Top 6 Verses by Kendrick LamarOctober 4, 2012
Event though there are still some non-fans out there, Kendrick Lamar is arguably the best rapper to enter the game in the last five years. He rhymes with both grace and aggression, proudly speaking for a generation that grew up caught somewhere between cartoons, cereal and a desensitization to violence. Each of his releases, from the Kendrick Lamar EP to O.verly D.edicated to the heavy Section.80, have been critically-acclaimed. With his debut album, good kid, M.A.A.D city, on the way later this month, he’s become one of hip-hop’s most praised rising MC’s and hopes to continue his string of success with his major label debut. Because it’s arguable that he’s the best rapper out right now, we’ll give you something else to argue about: Here are his 6 best verses. It’s debate season, so let the debate commence.
6. “Vanity Slaves”
This one counts because it’s just one continued outburst where Kendrick breaks down all the ways in which people allow the things they own (or want) to own them. At the conclusion of the song, he shows the relatable, human side that’s made him so popular by admitting that he’s not above it either.
5. “Ignorance is Bliss”
The rhyme scheme of the first verse is amazing, but when he says “I’ll make an album that’ll put a smile on Malcolm/Make Martin Luther tell God I’m the future for Heaven’s talent/No tarot card reading I’m foreseeing you niggas vanish/Not only from the rap game, I’m including the planet” and so forth and so forth, the second verse is solidified as the song’s best.
4. “HiiiPower,” third verse
This is a racially-charged track, with mentions of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale and Fred Hampton. Kendrick repeats “frightenin’, so fuckin’ frightenin’” for a third time on the song’s final verse, but you can feel him get amped up as he talks about the reason Lauryn Hill doesn’t record anymore and why Kurt Cobain committed suicide. It makes you want to go out and start a riot.
3. “Rigamortis,” last verse
“Don’t ask for your favorite rapper, he dead.” Kendrick knows he shitted on a lot of people with this one, and lets listeners know from the jump. He launches a full-on lyrical assault that requires multiple listenings, and after toying around (not really, though) on the first two verses, he kicks it into another gear on the song’s final verse and puts the nail in the coffin for good.
2. “The City”
Why’d he have to do Game like that? This is one of the single greatest cases on someone getting slaughtered on their own song ever, and Jayceon can’t do much more than concede to the young Compton rapper. Kendrick killed the last verse, like, killed it. Dead. Dead and buried six feet below the earth. Could this explain why Game is rappin’ like Bone Thugs now? *shrug*
1. “Look Out For Detox”
I still remember the first time I heard this, I was sold after “Tire marks, tire marks/Finish line with the tire marks, when the relay starts I’m a runaway slave….” and it’s all downhill from there. There’s a reason he performs this at lives shows and invites fans to recite the lyrics: it’s a lyrical workout.
Written early in the morning, Kendrick contemplates giving up on rap in favor of the fast money (and danger) that comes along with dealing drugs. Fortunately, ROTC, his “Right On Time Conscience” gets the better of him.
“The Heart Pt. 1″ & “The Heart Pt. 2″
Part 1 shows the hunger of a pre-OD Kendrick, and its sequel is the opening track on that project, setting the tone with that same hunger.
“Rap like I ain’t ate shit.” That’s exactly right, because this right here is pure hunger, and he just keeps going. It’s like “Look Out For Detox”—a lyrical ass-whoopin’.