KENDRICK WEEK: Song of the Day – April 4, 2017

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.

Kendrick Lamar samples the legendary Wu-Tang Clan song “Tearz” alongside Ab-Soul and Punch in “West Coast Wu-Tang.”

“West Coast Wu-Tang” is featured on C4, Kendrick’s third mixtape which was released in 2009. With two TDE rappers by his side, Kendrick boasts about about being at the very top of his game and no one being able to compare.

This song is also an interesting listen retrospectively due to the differences between Kendrick then and Kendrick now. He’s still trying to find his footing as an artist.

A forced to be reckoned with
Fuck with the best shit
Like the strongest manure, I’m ready when you are

For instance, this quote is more reminiscent of J. Cole’s current style. However, there are still glimpses of Kendrick’s trademark clever lyricism:

I spar with a dragon, he tried to throw a flame
But I ducked, then I stabbed him and came out the battle laughin’
That’s a metaphor for any rapper who wants it

Even before he became one of the world’s most renown hip hop artists, Kendrick was not afraid to call out bigger names than him. The analogy here is that he is the underdog fighting with a dragon, but still coming out victorious. Kendrick later takes a more respectful stance towards rap legends (“Nice enough to throw a spear at Nas / Launch at Jay; matter fact, let me take that back / See, I don’t fuck with real legends in rap like you do”).

Ab-Soul is responsible for the second verse in “West Coast Wu-Tang.” He boasts about his rapping skills, basically saying that no one can match up to him:

When I speak, they fucking silent like sex for the deaf
Violence, I play it like violins in the orchestra
Treat you like vitamins then spit you back out
Like a verse I had way back before I had it mapped out
Rip a page out the Almanac then cross reference when I wreck shit

Punch’s verse maintains a similar theme. TDE is in-your-face about how good they are in “West Coast Wu-Tang.” They do not try to hide their intentions at any point. It’s borderline arrogant, but how can you argue with them now?

Mind-bending, co-existing with the written
Verbal assassin, internally smashing, spazzing on tracks
Translation: I’m disgusting in action
A lyrical glutton busting over Sounwave productions

Kendrick concludes the song with another proclamation of his greatness. (“We the new West Coast Wu Tang bitch and I’m the best / Stay blessed, You can suck my dick”). While the song’s subject matter gets incredibly repetitive and is nothing exceptional or memorable, the flow of the song is decent and it’s enjoyable to hear Kendrick over a classic beat.

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