It's 5:12 p.m. on July 15, 2012, as I write this. Kendrick Lamar is the best young rapper alive. J. Cole is great. K.R.I.T. is nice. Kendrick Lamar is simply on a different planet. There's a guy who calls me for new rap recommendation every three weeks. I've been giving him the same answer for the last 18 months: Kendrick Lamar. He probably thinks I shill for Aftermath.
It's easy to root for a guy like Kendrick because he rarely disappoints. Too many times I've bragged about new rappers publicly only to wind up looking like a chump. K.Dot makes me seem wiser than I really am.
Take "Swimming Pool," for instance. Here, he's addressing a familiar topic (excessive drinking), but he does with that freshness you hope for in future greats. It's the same stuff every rapper talks about with a skill level few could ever match. It's the ease with which he rides the beat. It's that sing-song, Bone Thugs flow. It's the way he walks that fine thread between mainstream and underground. It's the way he camouflages a message track as a radio tune.
I have a few gripes, though. (Relax, they're minor.) The song ends abruptly, and the beat, though sufficiently damp, is hardly memorable. It's not Kendrick's best work, but that's the point. He's light years ahead of most on an average day.Listen: Kendrick Lamar - "Swimming Pools (Drank)"