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Kendrick Lamar and Big Sean take control on ‘Holy Key’

Kendrick and Big Sean team up on another DJ Khaled track

20th Aug 2016

Credit: Vibe

The last time these two jumped on a track my speakers exploded into flames.

No really, Big Sean and Kendrick Lamar have a knack for delivering some of the most exhilarating lyrics whenever they complement each other on a track, so it’s only right we broke down their latest collaboration on The Keakie Breakdown.

Just in case you didn’t get the reference, their last song ‘Control’ propelled Kendrick Lamar to the number one trending topic on Twitter for over twenty four hours after he unleashed a devastating verbal onslaught where he warned he was going to murder all of his rivals: Drake, ASAP Rocky, J.Cole and Wale just to name a few. There are even some YouTube videos that are solely dedicated to the legendary Kendrick verse with millions of views despite Kendrick being the guest rapper on Big Sean’s song. In case you’d like to relive that experience, check it out here:

However, on this DJ Khaled track, both artists address some of the most important issues in the world today such as materialism and police brutality. Big Sean rhymes aggressively: ‘Every day off to the races, can't f*ck with you if you racist/Beat your ass until you purple/They can't even tell what your race is.’ Clearly, Big Sean, like many of us, is tired of the blatant racism in the USA.

Khaled asked legendary soul singer Betty Wright to sing the hook for the song which has an uplifting gospel vibe to it. In an interview with the Breakfast Club he said: she’s the mother of Miami, we’re all her children.’ The significance of her singing the hook on a major Hip – Hop collaboration cannot be understated. From Hip Hop’s inception Betty Wright’s soulful vocals have been sampled by artists like Mary J Blige, Beyonce (for the song ‘Upgrade U’) and Chance The Rapper (for his hit ‘Favourite Song’). Rather than sample her vocals from the past, Khaled reached out to her for the track. On Wright’s hook, Khaled said: ‘Basically, I told her to go to church.’

Kendrick’s lyrically rich verse packs a real punch. He addresses materialism in his opening line: ‘Everything I touch may disintegrate into dust.’ Later he asks the listener: ‘So what you look up to?/Fame and fortune, bitches, Porsches/Sources with designer thing.’ Kendrick addresses materialism head on and in his verse. It was a ubiquitous theme in his critically acclaimed album ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ and its presence can definitely be felt here too. K Dot’s verse also has religious undertones, another theme that is very important to him: ‘I don't wear crosses no more, Yeshua's coming back/I ain't scared of losses no more, I see life in that’. Here, he references Exodus 20:4 and the second coming of Christ. But perhaps what is most impressive about Kendrick is his delivery. He switches his flow midway through the verse but in a way that is still cohesive with the rest of the song.

Layered by DJ Khaled’s famous shoutouts the track is memorable. Have a listen to it below, but please, make sure your fire alarms are working. You’ve been warned, serious heat coming your way with this one:

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