As reductive and purposelessness as the phrase “conscious rap” is and has always been, Grammy dark horse Kendrick Lamar’s first volley off his upcoming album could, in a different time, be labeled just that. On “i,” the young, agile lyricist raps a vague but colorful message of self empowerment/improvement over an energized Isley Brothers sample: “The sky could fall down, the wind could cry now, the strong in me will still smile.”
While Lamar’s previous critically acclaimed album Good Kid, M.A.A.D City was something of a subjective, observational work wrought from humor and pathos —if “i” is any indication — his next collection will be more message oriented. The Twitterverse, for the most part, seems to appreciate the uplift.
If you don’t like that new Kendrick song then somethin wrong with you…not every hip hop song has to be dark! Let there be light!!! ☀️— Haiden (@CarterzPapi) September 23, 2014
new Kendrick is that song your mom texts you about in 3 months talking about how she loves the positive message— ernest baker (@ernestbaker) September 23, 2014
That new Kendrick is the music in the part of the movie where all the inner city youth be trying to do better in school.— Dom Hanks (@DomInRealLife) September 23, 2014