As part of the build-up to Kendrick Lamar’s new project, the Underground Flux will present KENDRICK WEEK for the next 7 days (March 31 to April 7). A special focus will be put on K-Dot during that time span. We hope you enjoy.
A dream collab came to life in January 2016 when Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar’s sounds came together for “No More Parties in L.A.”
The track was released in the early hours of January 18, true to Kanye’s unpredictable style, as part of the promotion leading up to The Life of Pablo. Kanye and Kendrick fans first learned of the song’s existence after a snippet was included at the end of “Real Friends'” initial SoundCloud release which has since been deleted.
The production of “No More Parties in L.A.” is on point, as has become customary with Madlib. Kanye’s verses also represent a sort of rebirth for him. Although the focus of this article is not on him, this song marked his return as a rapper:
I know some fans thought I wouldn’t rap like this again
But the writer’s block is over, emcees cancel your plans
In his verse, Kendrick spotlessly drops a myriad of references, somehow connecting all of them to the ambience of the song. These include Erykah Badu, wrestling, Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō, and his Reebok shoe release.
Kendrick’s array of references becomes even more impressive when one realizes that he is weaving intricate rhyme schemes while mentioning them:
Um, well cutie, I like your bougie booty
Come Erykah Badu me, well, let’s make a movie
Hell, you know my repertoire is like a wrestler
I show you the ropes, connect the dots
A country girl that love Hollywood
Kendrick tells the story of how a relationship with a girl changed once they moved to the glitz of Los Angeles, more specifically Hollywood. This might not be a literal move, but instead, how Lamar’s life became different after his fame.
At first, she was a “country girl that love[d] Hollywood.” However, she began to be consumed by the glamour (Smoke in every direction, middle finger pedestrians / R&B singers and lesbians, rappers and managers / Music and iPhone cameras / This shit unanimous for you, it’s damaging for you, I think), which Kendrick does not like. He was the one who got her here in the first place (That pussy should only be holding exclusive rights to me, I mean / He flew you in this motherfucker on first class).
All of this animosity results in Kendrick and the girl seemingly breaking up. She demands to have the right to some of his money, but with all of his fame, the money she desires eventually becomes a small tip for K-Dot.
Now you wanna divide the yam like it equate the math?
That shit don’t add up, you’re making him mad as fuck
Then my shoe released, she was kicking in gratuity
For Kanye fans, “No More Parties in L.A.” was a sneak peek of the diversity included in The Life of Pablo, as well as a reminder of what West is able to do lyrically when inspired. For Kendrick fans, they were able to get a dream collaboration, and a spitfire verse.