With a catalog as impeccable as Kendrick Lamar‘s — case in point, his Aftermath debut good kid, m.A.A.d city has been a mainstay on the Billboard 200 charts — it’s hard to narrow his music down to a “top ten.” Yet being that it’s Kenny’s thirty-fourth birthday, it feels appropriate to celebrate one of his many viable contenders. In fact, there’s a strong case to be made that “Hood Politics,” a standout off the 2015 classic To Pimp A Butterfly, is easily top-tier Kendrick material.
In the midst of an album lined with conceptual offerings and sonic experimentation, “Hood Politics” shines for being a back-to-basics barrage of bars. Over a minimalist instrumental from Tea Beast and Thundercat, Kendrick gets in his bag with a glint of mischief in his eye. That’s not to say he’s simply running laps, as many of his lines still cut deep with sociopolitical commentary. “Democrips” and “Rebloodicans” can get it indiscriminately. Throw in a welcome shout out to Killer Mike, who Kendrick propped up as the pinnacle of real rap, and “Hood Politics” is one of the rawest cuts the Compton emcee has served up on a studio album.
Happy birthday to Kendrick Lamar, who absolutely snapped on “Hood Politics.” Do you think this is one of his greatest tracks?
Hopped out the Caddy, just got my dick sucked
The little homies called and said, “The enemies done cliqued up”
Oh, yeah? Puto want to squabble with mi barrio?
Oh, yeah? Tell ’em they can run it for the cardio
Oh, yeah? Everything is everything, it’s scandalous
Slow-motion for the ambulance, the project filled with cameras
The LAPD gamblin’, scramblin’, football numbers slanderin’
Ni**as’ names on paper—you snitched all summer