Kendrick Lamar beats at his own pace on “The Heart Pt. 4”

Quick question: when’s the last time Kendrick Lamar wasn’t the best rapper alive? Sure, other rappers have had bigger hits, and others have pushed the genre to unimaginable places, but none have displayed the presence, the gravitas of Kendrick Lamar over the course of his past three studio albums, along with his overlooked 2011 mixtape Section.80. So it’s no big surprise Kendrick Lamar scorches the earth with his fiery “The Heart Pt. 4,” the first new track in his “The Heart” series since “Pt. 3” arrived mere days before good kid, m.A.A.d. city solidified his place on rap’s hierarchy. The surprise then comes from Lamar ditching the jazzy, bluesy tones that elevated his past two releases for something more contemporary, albeit something that feels like it could only come from a west coast giant like Lamar. “Don’t tell a lie on me, I won’t tell the truth bout you,” he brilliantly threatens from the onset. If you stick to the facts, you won’t find a better rapper alive than the one you see here.


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