Kendrick Lamar won three platinum trophies at Sunday night's BET Awards. He lost big a day later.
K-Dot's newest verse comes courtesy of a Euroclub-inspired Robin Thicke single, "Give It 2 U." The collaboration, which leaked Monday, has inspired clamor in comment sections and continues to perpetuate the fear that one of hip-hop's brightest stars is already selling out. Linking up with pop artists doesn't always deserve such a negative connotation, but when the outcome is this unlistenable, there's cause for concern.
Lamar caught the attention of underground hip-hop heads through relentless self-promotion and a gem of a mixtape. After cosigns from Dr. Dre and the release of the album of the universe in good kid, m.A.A.d city, Kendrick became the hottest emcee in a genre desecrated by poppy radio hits. With "Give It 2 U," Kendrick falls back into the same filler he was sidestepping last year.
The beat sounds like a desperate remix of some already-bad Black Eyed Peas hit, and within the first 30 seconds, Thicke tells the ladies that he's "got a hit for ya/big d*ck for ya." It's downright depressing for the fans of good kid, who can only hope this is 16-year-old K-Dot and not a preview of Lamar's future. "I wanna feel what a real fat ass like," Kendrick raps in the song's third verse.
Every great rapper slips up to sell records. Nas made "You Owe Me" (thanks Cole); Eminem made "Just Lose It." But "Give It 2 U" is just the latest in a string of questionable tracks from Kendrick, though appearing as a guest in all of them. The appeal of good kid was its narrative; the album immerses its listener into a surreal world orchestrated and controlled by Lamar. Recently, he's lost control, and he's lost that originality. Features on "F*ckin' Problems," "Y.O.L.O." and now Thicke's mess of a single has Kendrick rendering everything that made him unique.
We can only hope that these guest spots are nothing more than a payday and some bigger exposure. Kendrick's debut album was dubbed as a "short film," but this year, the only thing that's been short is the subject matter.
Listen to "Give It 2 U" here and voice your opinion on Kendrick's verse below.