Kendrick Lamar’s “King Kunta” Surfaces Online: Listen
Recently, Kendrick Lamar said that 1970s funk, like Parliament, was among the key influences to his upcoming sophomore album To Pimp A Butterfly. On March 13, the rapper’s “King Kunta” surfaced online — Hot 97 posted the track, only to take it down — to show followers what he means by that.
Lamar raps of walking down the street with yams on him, though with the same tight, driving style that James Brown utilized to transform R&B into funk — the music that became the backbone to hip-hop. Female backup singers demand for the funk (“We want the funk!”) as, yes, Parliament once did.
To an extent, it makes sense that Rolling Stone recently compared “King Kunta” to a ’70s Blaxploitation theme. The guitar licks and the funky beats of those songs — that’s all here.
However, while the most memorable Blaxploitation themes are lightweight affairs, this To Pimp a Butterfly track ends up sounding darker and more serious. “Life ain’t nothing but a fat vagina / screaming ‘Annie, are you okay?'” Lamar declares. As the song grows suspenseful, he’s referencing Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal,” reminding listeners of just how grim that pop song’s subject matter actually is.
Hear Kendrick Lamar’s “King Kunta” over at CantStopHipHop.com.
Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.