“The Heart Part 4” comes as Kendrick Lamar’s latest release since the B-side album untitled unmastered in March of last year and is the fourth instalment of “The Heart” series, made periodically throughout Kendrick’s career – the previous of the series coming out just before his second studio album good kid, m.A.A.d. city.
In typical Kendrick fashion the song features multiple beat changes (see “m.A.A.d. city”, “Institutionalised”, “u”) that take you on a trip from chilled-out soul to a brief, but smooth West Coast beat to Kendrick spitting hard over a sinister beat. Just what’s needed after a year long Kendrick drought.
Yet as the “The Heart Part 4” goes down this dark road it becomes increasingly apparent that this song’s probably a diss track. Many have already dissected the lyrics thoroughly and the most likely targets of Kendrick’s anger are Big Sean and Drake (also a little bit Trump, but who isn’t doing that right now?).
The former is a smaller player in the rap game and in looking to rise up the ranks supposedly dissed K-dot on his track “Me, Myself, & I”. We guess Big Sean was going for the ‘kill the king, become the king’ method but only tiptoed around Kendrick’s name by referring to him as the ‘saviour of rap’. Kendrick’s response in “The Heart Part 4” is quite threatening and throughout he continually refers to himself as the ‘saviour’.
The latter, Drake, recently declared himself as the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) on the track “Sneakin’” despite the fact that it came to light a couple of years ago that he’s known to use a ghost writer. Knowing Kendrick’s respect for the art of rapping, this would imaginably anger him quite a bit (“A rapper with a ghost writer? What the fuck happened?”), not to mention the Cold War that’s been happening between them ever since their 2012 collaboration “Poetic Justice”.
Although a great song, “The Heart Part 4” is definitely not a ‘hit song’. The vibe is very much a trailer to build hype for a much larger project – his fourth studio album. “Y’all got ‘til April the 7th to get y’all shit together” are the final lines, suggesting that more material is on the way (*sweats in anticipation*) and to back this up a couple of days after the song’s release a possible tracklist was leaked online. Get ready for a banger of an album because it contains some big names: Andre 3000, Anderson .Paak and Kanye West, as well as a bunch of hit-making producers like DJ Dahi (“Money Trees”, “Worst Behaviour”), Flying Lotus and Sounwave (“m.A.A.d City”, “King Kunta”). This is HUGE if true.
Whether or not it’s aimed at anyone in particular, Kendrick’s message in “The Heart Part 4” is that he’s still number one and no one can stop him on his way to becoming a legend. Although it would be hard to surpass the greatness of To Pimp A Butterfly the combination of both this track and and the leaked tracklist info are sure signs that his next project has great potential.