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.

(via Billboard)