Save for a refrain on Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy or verses on any of his Wu-affiliated projects, Wu-Tang Clan’s chief producer and orchestrator RZA doesn’t make many guest appearances these days, so New West Coast representative Kendrick Lamar knows how lucky he is to have vocals from the Abbot on his latest single, “Ronald Reagan Era.”
“A mutual friend said he was diggin’ the music, and he blessed me to get these [RZA a cappella vocals]. I was sittin’ on them for a while, like, ‘Damn, I got some RZA joints up in my hard drive. That’s incredible,’ ” Lamar told MTV News. “So I didn’t want to touch ‘em just yet unless it was right. So I was sittin’ on them for a while, then I was like, ‘You know what? This is the perfect sound right here.’ My dude Tae Beast did the beat, and it came together, man. It was magic.”
“Ronald Reagan Era” — which was released online Friday and will be featured on Lamar’s upcoming album, Section 80 — finds the Compton MC rapping over a haunting loop. He raps of trifling street tales set in the late 1980s, when Ronald Reagan was serving his second term as the 40th president of the United States.
Lamar, who was born in 1987, draws a distinct parallel between his youth and Reagan’s reign, sometimes referred to as the “crack era.” Lamar rhymes: “1987, the children of Ronald Reagan, rake the leaves off your front porch with a machine blowtorch.”
The RZA’s contribution is slight, but his distinct wet drawl is pronounced as he repeats “California dungeons” during the song’s chorus, reinforcing Lamar’s feeling of coming up from the bottom.
Lamar told MTV News that Section 80, due out in July, has received blessings from Dr. Dre , but won’t feature production from the Good Doctor.
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