Hip-hop is at an all time low; here’s the proof (at nearly 24 million views since October 13th, 2014). So when I hear something particularly catchy these days that’s not racing to the bottom it’s twice as rewarding. “i” by Kendrick Lamar (at 7.5 million views since November 4th, 2014, and undoubtedly boosted by his intense dark-eyed performance on Saturday Night Live on November 16th) uses a backing track built around a re-recorded sample from the Isley Brothers’ 1973 hit “That Lady”, which equals some serious funk.
The song opens with a skit of a preacher giving a sermon laying down the mental framework for the message in the song “We got a young brother that stands for something! We got a young brother that believes in the all of us! Brother Kendrick Lamar! He’s not a rapper, he’s a writer, he’s an author! And if you read between the lines, we’ll learn how to love one another! But you can’t do that — right on! — I said, you can’t do that without loving yourself first.”