Listen: Kendrick Lamar’s “King Kunta”

Kendrick Lamar Earlier in the week the tracklisting and album title for Kendrick Lamar‘s highly anticipated sophomore album leaked on the internet. His new album is titled To Pimp a Butterfly, which appears to be a play on Harper Lee’s politically charged classic 1960 novel To Kill A Mockingbird. The album artwork shows a group of black men standing in front of the White House, holding alcohol and money, while a dead judge lies at their feet.

One of the latest songs from his forthcoming album titled, “King Kunta”, also sprung a leak earlier today. The name ‘Kunta Kinta’ refers to a character in Alex Haley’s mini-series The Roots, a slave who got his foot cut off, which is used in the hook of the song (“everybody want to cut the legs off”). The song was previously lauded by Pharrell Williams as sounding “unapologetically Black”. The funk and soul sampled production on the song distinctly sounds like DJ Quik, especially with that snare.

“King Kunta” is more accessible than the song title suggests, which would indicate an underlying message. He references Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal,” George Clinton emerges as a cameo, and he states  “black man ain’t taking no losses” in the chorus. Between this song, and “The Blacker The Berry”, and the album title, Kendrick’s new project certainly sounds like it’ll be politically and racially charged. To what end is yet to be determined.

“King Kunta” appears on Kendrick Lamar’s upcoming album To Pimp A Butterfly, which is set to be released March 23rd you can pre-order on iTunes now.

You can stream “King Kunta” below:

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