Kendrick Lamar‘s masterpiece — one of many, as it were — To Pimp A Butterfly, has officially turned six years of age. Widely hailed as a stellar body of work from the Compton mastermind, many singles have long withstood the test of time, easily standing as some of Kendrick’s best work. Yet one of the project’s many highlights arrives by way of a deeper cut, the up-tempo and unapologetically west-coast “You Ain’t Gotta Lie,” one of the album’s grooviest jams by far.
Over a bouncy instrumental from producer LoveDragon, Kendrick takes to the beat with two distinct approaches. The first is more melodic in nature, a laid-back delivery that speaks to the track’s casual and carefree air. His pace quickens around the halfway point as he switches to a livelier flow, delivered with robotic precision and a zenlike cadence. “So loud rich ni**as got low money, and loud broke ni**as got no money,” he raps. “The irony behind it is so funny, and I seen it all this past year.” Closing out with some Roger-Troutman-esque vocoder vocals, “You Ain’t Gotta Lie” shines as a cautionary tale of sorts, breaking down the high cost of playing it cool.
Happy anniversary to Kendrick Lamar and To Pimp A Butterfly, one of the genre-defining projects of the past decade — and arguably ever, depending on who you ask. Where do you think “You Ain’t Gotta Lie” holds up alongside the discography?
What do you got to offer?
Tell me before we off ya, put you deep in the coffin
Been allergic to talkin’, been a virgin to bullshit
And sell a dream in the auction, tell me just who your boss is