Picking a favourite track from Kendrick’s new release DAMN. is no easy task. Each track is significant in its own right; a moral dilemma, a declaration of love, an unforgiving social commentary or a downright exercise in hypocrisy. But for me the track that gets played first- almost without fail and more often than I’d like to admit- features one of the strangest yet somehow most elegant collaborations between the veritable King of the West Coast and U2’s Bono, who conjures up memories of that one South Park episode aptly titled ‘Bono’s Broken Record’.
The best comparison I can give, and likely the reason why the song sticks out amongst an album in which each and every track is a testament to Kendrick’s supreme ability as a wordsmith, is Wing’s Band on the Run. Even stranger comparison? fair enough. Now I don’t mean to suggest Paul McCartney can’t rap- I wouldn’t know- but what gets me is how a song little over four minutes long is effectively three songs in one, and still feels more authentic, raw and honest than anything I’ve heard in a while. And to top it off (believe me, I thought i’d never say this), U2 are a welcome addition to an already masterfully crafted, fiercely powerful song. Kendrick raps on the state of the US, gives frank advice on how to deal with brutal loss and criticises the portrayal of black rappers within a corrupt and racist media throughout the record but takes four short minutes to capture the entire essence of the album with the finesse and profound intelligence which he has become synonymous with.