CURRENT: Kendrick Lamar – “i”

If you had never heard a Kendrick Lamar song until “i”, it would be pretty easy to guess how Lamar is feeling these days. Hell, he explicitly says as much on the song’s hook, as he exclaims, “I love myself!” Self-love may be one of the most frowned upon concepts in modern hip-hop (i.e., Kanye West), so Lamar makes a pretty big leap here admitting that he’s happy with himself. Lamar is essentially letting his freak flag fly here, with the song’s eclectic production a far cry from the grittier good kid, m.A.A.d. city. So while “i” sounds like a complete 180 from the masterful good kid, it still retains the hip-hop superstar’s amazing flow, character, and substance of basically everything he’s done previously. “They want to say there’s a war outside / and a bomb on the street / and a gun in the hood / and a mob of police,” begins his memorable third verse, which turns out to be an appetizer for Lamar’s breathtaking fourth verse. “I went to war last night,” it begins, before Lamar scorches the earth before him. A little over a year ago, Lamar famously called out many of hip-hop’s current hit makers. This time around, he doesn’t need to name names. He’s too busy dancing by himself.

Rahki produced, with mixing done by Ali. The song samples the Isley Brothers’ “Who’s That Lady?”.

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