Written by DeRa Brinson
Kendrick Lamar released a new track last night called “The Heart Part 4”. This is the first track he has released that wasn’t a feature since Untitled Unmastered which I reviewed here. I am familiar with “The Heart Parts1-3”. I was telling Dj William Wes and his friend two weeks or so ago, how much I enjoyed that series and it showed Kendrick’s big picture view in composing songs which made To Pimp a Butterfly something that was a surprise but not a surprise. What I mean by that conflicted statement, is that I didn’t expect that type of album by him but once I heard it made sense. He has been hinting to that sound for a large part of his career back before good kid, m.A.A.d city. This also highlighting his diverse production selection, subject matter and flow patterns.
For the new track “The Heart Part 4” the production has a distorted police siren followed by deep bass line with some great vocals all giving a moody, laid back vibe. Kendrick first line is a poignant reminder of the present state that society is in but piercing in its truth “don’t tell a lie on me/I won’t tell the truth about you”. In the first verse Kendrick is letting us know about the expectation he is held up to as the savior of hip hop, as well as the opportunity his talent has given him to travel the world. His is informed enough to understand that money can be the ultimate distraction, which conjured up the memory of an interview I recently seen with Dave Chappelle. Chappelle told the story of technique used by a tribe in Africa for finding water. They dig a small hole and fill it with salt in an area where baboons are known to inhabit. Baboons love salt and will stick their hands in the hole to get the salt. The salt causes the baboons hand to swells up large enough that it can’t be removed from the hole. All the baboon has to do is let the salt go to be free but is stubborn, greedy , dumb or whatever you want to call it to let go of the salt. The people of the tribe then cage the baboon and feed it tons of salts before they let it go free. The recently freed baboon immediately goes searching for water due to all the ingested salt. The people from the tribe are guided to the water by the released baboon. He told this story to explain how he felt about walking away from the Chappelle Show, making the decision to let the salt(money) go and not be trapped by it. I feel this is the same sentiment that Kendrick was expressing.
There is a beat switch and transition in mood a quarter of the way through the track to a soulful classic golden age of hip hop sound. He is more aggressive and forceful talking to a rapper he doesn’t mention by name. Shortly after the first beat switch there is another alteration to even a more stripped down production with a heavier bass, as Lamar let’s this unnamed rapper know who he is when it comes to lyrics in a braggadocio manner and isn’t running from anyone. Kendrick is aware of the talk about him and is finally going to address it. One of the people added in the group with the unnamed rapper is Trump. Later in the verse K.Dot talks about him and Top Dawg are dealing with court issues. I believe he is referring to the court case with a rapper from Toronto that is suing him. Supposedly a Toronto rapper is suing T.D.E. because they made him take down a Kendrick verse of a song the Toronto rapper released. The Toronto rapper is stated to have paid for the verse and has a contract stating he could release it. Kendrick brushes it of in this verse if that is the court case he is referring to.
A line that stuck out toward the end of the song is “some many verse I never will run out” accompanied by the sound of ripping paper as he isn’t satisfied with it. It made an impression because as of now he hasn’t disappointed and am wondering if he ever will. The last line indicates that he is releasing an album on April 7th, the same day as Joey Bad@$$. So I guess we will see if he runs out of verses.
Checkout the Stay Woke! Podcast episode on this song here