In an interview with a YouTuber that surfaced a few days ago, producer Syk Sense gave us some unexpected clues about Kendrick Lamar’s next album. “It’s not like the jazzy sound you would think,” said Syk, who was one of four producers that worked on Kendrick’s recent track “The Heart Part 4,” “It’s like fucking Memphis... I don’t know what to call it. It’s L.A., it’s Memphis.”
Syk’s since (no pun intended) removed that interview, clarifying that the beats he heard weren’t confirmed for the new album. If new track “Humble” is any sign of what’s to come though-- and Schoolboy Q seems to suggest that it is indeed an album track-- Syk was spot-on with his observation.
“Humble” is produced by Atlanta trap/pop wizard Mike Will Made It, who after a brief blast of “Black Skinhead”-style guitar, spends most of the song hanging out in the lowest octave of a piano, creating a staccato stomp of a bassline. His drums are much more in-line with contemporary hip-hop than anything on To Pimp a Butterfly was (outside of “Alright”), and to borrow a descriptor that Syk used earlier in that interview, the song is definitely “hard.”
The song arrives with an accompanying video that might even be more outstanding than the track itself. Directed by Dave Meyers, whose credits most notably include Outkast’s legendary “B.O.B.” video, the “Humble” visuals take us through several instantly iconic scenes, including Kendrick posing as a Young Pope, eating at a Last Supper-style table, hitting golf balls off the roof of his car into the Los Angeles River, and rapping with his head on fire surrounded by figures with coils of rope for heads. Armchair symbologists will have a field day with this one.
The rumored release date for Kendrick’s official TPAB follow-up is April 7th, based on the closing line of “The Heart Part 4”: “Y'all got 'til April the 7th to get y'all shit together.”
Start preparing now, because if the rest of the upcoming album is anything like “Humble,” the rest of hip-hop is going to need a month-long sabbatical to recover.